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planning help... pretty please...

Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:51 am
by julie_lanteri
Hi everyone,

sorry to bother you again with my garden... After a year and a half of digging grass and playing with veg & flowers, I think it's time to look at fruit trees and bushes. I'm not ready to plant it all out (way too much grass and ground elder not helping in places) but I don't want to just plonk someting in because I have space now and regret it in 3 years time iykwim. I saw a garden designer (free consultation at Gardeners' World Live) but he obviously wasn't a fruit specialist and I've also been in touch with a local fruit grower but there again designing is not his speciality (pulling hair out... :dontknow: )

here is a view of the garden about 13m x 20m from the beginning of the path


and here is the kind of thing i have in mind (excuse the poor Paint skills)


along the fence on the left I was hoping to put apricot, plum & cherry but as it's more west than south facing I'm not too sure about the apricot... (we're in Essex by the way) ideas?

I'd like a quince with currants/gooseberry/rose around, but I've been told it would get too big. How big do quinces get? I tought they were "small" trees about 3.5m tall? how far from the tree should the bushes be planted? can they be planted at the same time?

also on the wish list James Grieve apple for our son James (almost 11months) but that means fitting in another apple somewhere for pollination? stepovers along the path?

Would a hazel work at the back?

Feel free to give other ideas...all welcome!

oh, and just so you can see what it looks like when you chop off the black plastic, the uggly grass and the bits to be dug

Thanks for taking the time to read this


Re: planning help... pretty please...

Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:11 pm
by boboff
Looks great.

Go for it!

Re: planning help... pretty please...

Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:24 pm
by Gra
Hazel is a waste of time if there are any grey squirrels in the area. In fact most fruit trees are, except apples and conference pears, unless they are in a very secure fruit cage.

Re: planning help... pretty please...

Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:35 pm
by diggernotdreamer
A friend of mine grew all her currants and gooseberries as a cordon, they worked really well and took up much less space than regular bushes. Have you considered a family apple tree, that way you can have several varieties on the same stem, stepovers and cordon fruits are a great idea, they have some very good demonstrations at Wisley. It is always a gamble growing. In my last garden, my polytunnel was in a narrow part of the garden with some very mature trees either side, not ideal but it was the only place I could put it, in some ways it worked all right, you can't always have perfect conditions for everything. The Acer is lovely and they are very expensive to buy, if you really don't want it, could you make preparations to move it or even sell it, when I was doing gardening for customers, some Acers could cost between 300 -1000 for a good sized specimen, same as the magnolia. I would agree and say a hazel is not a great choice as a productive tree, and the quince trees I have seen have been quite large. Figs and kiwi are interesting. I would go for a thornless blackberry, if space is limited, or if you have places round you where they go wild forage for wild ones and plant loganberry or tayberry perhaps. You can get patio peaches etc, you can plant those in pots and they can be moved round the garden if they are not happy in a certain spot. I sometimes wish I had a smaller garden again, its much more interesting juggling the space and you look as if you are using every spare inch, so good luck with it

Re: planning help... pretty please...

Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:54 am
by Maykal
You could have the espaliered fruit along the back fence for improved sunlight, and bring the small tree forward parallel with the other one (where the acer is now). They'll still get enough sunlight over the top of the house due to their height and won't shadow the back fence, meaning that can become a sun trap for sun-loving fruit. The blackberries could go along the left-hand side then, and the back third of the garden could be given over to rowed vegetables. The fruit bushes could be used to segment the garden by having them in front of the veg patch.

Re: planning help... pretty please...

Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:48 am
by oldjerry
Agree with much of the above(but wouldn't bother with family trees,sorry DND,I've just never seen one produce more than three cordoned varieties that took up little space,say on M9.
Your area is slightly bigger than the area I've put down to fruit.I'm personally a big fan of cordoning EVERYTHING,it's just so much easier to net.As above,use stepovers to divide up areas of your plot.
Fruit works best in rows,for netting/picking,etc. so it works if you use it to divide up areas of your plot.
Most of all,think about varieties.If you like raspberries you can ,if you choose carefully,supply them from late May 'till deepest Autumn,and enough to bottle /freeze them over winter.Ditto strawberries,which are best raised high as possible.Don't just plant any old apple,if you order early you can get any variety on dwarfing stock,for me I go for early eaters and cookers,2 or3 mid season,snd best of all,a really good keeper(Annie Elizabeth for me),most of all make sure they're something you and yours really want.
I've not seen quince on really dwarfing stock so ,just a barmy idea,either find someone you know with an ornamental garden and give them one as a Christmas present,then turn up at harvest time with a basket of apples,or(more appealingly,find a bit of derelict land (choose carefully) and plant it there,an old aquaintance of mine who lived in Birmingham grew all his grass in such a way for years! Best Wishes.

Re: planning help... pretty please...

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:20 am
by GeorgeSalt
If you're in an urban area you probably don't need pollination partners for your apple as there may already be there in neighbours gardens. We just planted the varieties we wanted and let them sort out their own sex lives. They're all setting fruit.

Figs have already been mentioned, and if you're in the south it's definitely worth considering. We're in Norfolk and heading for a bumper crop on a fig growing against an east facing wall (after no crop at all last year). Our apples, pear and plum trees aren't bothered by the squirrels and we don't net (not sure what Gra's squirrels are up to).

Personally, I'd keep that rather colourful Acer and the magnolia. You've got room for two or three fruit trees even if you kept them. And I'd also look to put in a small pond to encourage frogs.

Re: planning help... pretty please...

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:11 pm
by doofaloofa
Gra wrote:Hazel is a waste of time if there are any grey squirrels in the area.

I don't know

Squirrels are quite tasty

Re: planning help... pretty please...

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:06 pm
by julie_lanteri
Thank you guys, always very helpful!

The magnolia is definitely going next winter. It's not very pretty and it's so close to the shed we keep having to chop branches to get in. It will be replaced (further from the path!) by a quince "vranja" which gets to 3.5-4m max I've been told. I'm not going to plant bushes around it, yet...

The fences can't be planted up yet but you really got me thinking. I thought the fig would have to go in a pot on the patio but maybe it would be ok with a south-west facing location... (north is wrong on my pic, it should be the other way round... :oops: ) Kiwi would be great on a pergola, when we get round to doing the patio in a few years time. My friend has got a tunnel of kiwis. Absolutely beautiful! Btw, when we get the patio done, I'll let you know so you can come and try to rescue the acer! Free to whoever digs it up!

My only concern for this year is the "James Grieve" apple for the LO. If I need a 1 year maiden, I would have to plant it this winter to be the same age as James... I am not looking for tons of fruit, just a nice freestanding shape that is not going to shade the East facing fence too much. I've seen in gardening books how to train a lollipop and a festooned tree. I saw the lollipop at Barnsdale and it's a nice feature. Anybody has tried or seen a festooned tree? Or should I just stick with the James Galway rose and forget the apple? :scratch:

A few steps closer to having an image of the garden in my head (in the meantime I keep digging...)

Enjoy the sunshine!

Re: planning help... pretty please...

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:52 pm
by GeorgeSalt
Grow an apple because you like the flavour or want to use it for a particular use. Honestly, the tree won't know the difference if it's a Bramley Seedling but you call it James. There are some interesting varieties for you here.

Our fig is on the patio, but not in a pot. I lifted a half-slab and planted it into the builders rubble (no soil to speak of) I found underneath. That seems to provide the poor, dry soil it wants. I did have to work my way up to some pretty heavy duty eye anchor bolts to train it. The weight of the crop in late summer, and the sail area of the leaves, meant that anything smaller just pulled out of the wall. A few years on, the main trunks have thickened and it pretty much supports itself without assistance.