I have just been reading through my old posts and realise there are some gaps to fill in – about filling in the gaps!
When I first planted fruit trees in the garden I had planned for them to be small, but not tiny. I changed to a pruning system that kept them very small in 2016 and a couple of later I realised that doing this had opened up gaps in between – gaps where I could plant some more! I only realised that at the very end of winter two years ago (2018) and excitedly ordered eight more fruit trees to add to the existing five!
- two apples – Bramley’s Seedling (cooker) and Newton Wonder (dessert and cooker)
- two plums – Marjorie’s Seedling and Victoria
- one medlar
- two gages – Deniston’s Superb and Cambridge
- one cherry – Stella
They arrived at the end of March when it was still snowy, frosty and very cold. Pat and I planted them as best we could in the hard ground in very unpleasant conditions and kept our fingers crossed that they would be okay. We put one gage in the Long Border close to where a mirabelle I was experimenting with had died but all the other trees were planted in gaps between existing trees.
There wasn’t much to see at the time of planting:
And there isn’t a lot to show now either, with it being winter. Despite the close planting all the new trees have been growing well and the plums flowered and bore a couple of fruit each last summer. Marjorie’s Seedling is even better than Victoria – and I have always loved Victoria plums. I have my fingers crossed for a few more this year and maybe one or two gages but I don’t expect the apples or medlars to fruit this year.
Last winter I couldn’t find a way to fit in any more trees, but instead – in order to satisfy my cravings for more plants – Pat and I created a curved border across the lawn and planted several viburnum lantana (wayfaring tree) and viburnum opulus (guelder rose) along it. These viburnums were included specifically for their wildlife value – flowers for insects and berries for birds – and for being beautiful plants with lovely autumn colours. Several other viburnums also squeezed into the polyculture bed and the edge bed by the perimeter fence and yet more were planted in our wood with some other native species.
Last week Pat and I were out in the garden – in the cold again – planting even more trees! Two more pear trees this time – Conference (which although it is common is in fact a heritage tree) and Packhams Triumph a local heritage variety. The conference pear is planted close to where there was a damson died several years ago having not liked its radical pruning. I had left the stump in for birds to perch on, but pulling it out made an easy hole in the frozen ground to pop the new one into. The Packham’s pear is planted in a new extension to the long border also carved out in the very cold, but beautiful, weather of last week.
I fell in love with crab apple trees last autumn when I saw some amazing colours at Chirk Castle and accordingly have also planted an ornamental crab apple in the border with the viburnums.
Principle: Everything the forest gardener does takes full account of the whole of the forest garden ecosystem – what has happened, what is happening and what they intend for the future.