The wee hours of this morning were spent trawling fruit tree sites, when I meant to be writing. But such is the way sometimes that distraction comes along turning us from our intended plans. And yet, in being distracted, future plans have been made.
As first time owners of our own (large, restoration) garden, there is much to plan. In fact the garden has received the majority of planning, and work, since moving in (versus, restoration house). And although I’m not someone I would classify as a ’gardener’, in that I know so very little and mostly wing it, there is still the recognition that gardens take some thought. After all, most of it takes time, years even, to grow.
I’m not really talking about the veg garden here – in general. Yes, there are aspects of the veg area that have and do require planning. The asparagus for certain, as we must wait a number of years before we can harvest. So it was one of the first things planned and planted. Artichokes, too. And black currants.
We already have red and champagne currants, but the fragrance and depth of flavour of black currants is not to be rivalled. With all the above mentioned, once planted they will continue to produce each year, so hence the planning. The vegetable seeds we plant annually, require less thought. Just some planning on where to plant them this year.
And now I am on to fruit trees. (Finally!) But I will start with the duck enclosure. (But, of course.) Work has been going on this winter primarily in the enclosure, to help it on its planning path to become the secret garden. Now, picture a square. The left and top sides are stone. The right and bottom sides are walls of chicken wire mesh.
Chicken wire mesh is not unsightly in that it is hard to see, particularly from a distance. But our thoughts are essentially that it is a wasted space that needs using. It’s a wall ultimately, though not a very strong one. It has been planned from the beginning that fruit trees will be dotted along these mesh walls, with plans to espalier them along the mesh. This will help strengthen the wall, create shade in summer in the enclosure, create digging predator barriers with their roots and, added bonus!, give us fruit.
The mesh wall has wooden supports at meter/yard, give or take, distances. We will plant a different type of fruit tree at every post. So, I have been enjoying a morning trawling fruit tree types online, considering what we would like.
An apple tree is de rigueur (a requirement), of course. It’s the finding of the right one though. There are so many varieties, but to our mind there is one that stands above the rest. The Ariane. You know when you bight in to that crispy juicy apple in autumn and it just screams ‘autumn apple’ flavour – that’s the Ariane.
A fig is on the list. Not really sure why, other than they are easy to grow. We are a little ambivalent about figs. Liked but not excited by. But saying that, maybe that is because we don’t have them to hand. They grow easily here, probably the easiest of the fruit trees to grow, and they are easy to espalier. So, as this is a new venture, a ‘guaranteed’ success is worth a go. And, hey we might discover we really love figs.
We planted a kiwi last year. Not sure if it is going to make it to this spring. A very dry summer, and as someone who is terrible at remembering to water consistently (yup, I am a too much or too little kind of gal) I half killed it. Then an early frost… well, you’re getting the picture, right? As mentioned, not really a vocational gardener. Though working on it.
I covered it in plastic for the winter, and we will see what we will see when uncovered. I do truly hope it has survived, for its sake but also because if not, it was a year wasted. A planned drip watering system is in the pipeline (get it?!) for later this spring that will follow the mesh wall. So hopefully, I won’t kill any more trees.
This past year has given the opportunity to view, review and think. Our winters are very damp. Not always raining, just… damp. And our summers are very dry. Very, very dry. So whether manual or automatic, there needs to be a watering system.
I tried my hand at ‘cuttings’ this past year, too. E.g. I cut some branches off my neighbours cherry tree (with permission) and a wild growing apricot and stuck them in the ground. No, I did not have any root powder (do now), rather it was more of a let’s see what happens, nothing to lose plan. The apricot went to a brittle death. But, the cherry branch seems to be retaining it’s green flexibility. So, fingers are crossed for buds in a month or so to confirm yeah or nay to a future of cherries.
And in my trawling of fruit trees online I came across flat peaches. We discovered them when living in Spain. Oh my, they are good. Seriously good. Therefore, to my mind, a must try in our garden. I know peaches aren’t as hardy as other fruit trees, so they are on the future list. Next years planting maybe. Giving me time to learn more and understand what needs doing to keep it alive.
Almonds and olives too are on the future list. They require a little less taking care of, but I prefer to buy them in a slightly larger / older size, which is more of an investment. I’m not yet sure if an olive tree can be espaliered, so placement may be need some thought and planning.
What started all this online trawling this morning was watching a video on sweet chestnuts (view below). And now added to the list. But like the olive tree, I don’t know whether it can be espaliered. I do know they can also get very large. More research and planning needed.
Addendum. Just back from a walk with Chewie, and we happened to walk past that same wild apricot tree. In consideration of this mornings musings, you know I had to do it. But this time, I had root powder. Fingers are crossed it will send down roots.