This orchard grows to remind us of the care and work Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) devoted to his land long ago. Cultivation of this orchard began in 2008 with a variety of fruit trees similar to what Banneker grew. He may have also collected wild fruits and nuts from native trees on his land. You will find some of these trees in the orchard as well.
Banneker was six years old when his father purchased 100 acres of this land in 1737. Banneker lived here for the rest of his life. Banneker's journal tells us that when he was 67 years old he planted 170 pear "sprouts" in late November of 1798. Banneker's neighbors wrote of how he planted cherry, peach, and apple trees in his orchard. Perhaps he made apple or pear cider to drink and sell as folks do today. Banneker cared for the trees and then harvested the fruit. He surely enjoyed eating fresh fruit over the summer and early fall. He may have sold the extra fruit to neighbors and folks in the local town, Ellicott Mills.
Banneker set ;up honey bee hives to help pollinate his trees. Bees visit the flowers, spreading pollen from tree to tree. The trees can then grow fruit. His beehives produced honey that Banneker enjoyed and perhaps sold to his neighbors. Banneker could also make candles from the beeswax for his house and mead, a strong drink, from the honey.
Wander the orchard
and enjoy the smell of tree blossoms and ripening fruit. Apple, peach, pear, cherry, plum and other cultivated fruit trees grow here as well as native trees like black walnut, paw paw, and persimmon. Perhaps you can fine one of the wild pear trees in the park that some say are descended from Banneker's pear "sprouts."