Patio fruit tree collection



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Patio fruit tree collection

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To celebrate last year’s glorious harvest, we gathered a collection of our fruit trees and overgrown shrubs to show you their range of autumnal colours. We hope you’ll get a little whiff of our early autumnal pleasures in this newsletter and will soon be settling down for hibernation, as our long winter’s sleep is in the calendar!

We’re a real fan of these mangoes. We had a couple of problems with the plant’s susceptibility to a particular bacterial infection, but we found ways around this and in doing so introduced further problems. We’re now going to see what we can do with our other plants to bring them back into production. Mango, we do believe, is in the future!

We don’t often see clusters of dates as we’ve planted this tree very tightly together. It looks really quite daunting to prune but it does look spectacular in the showhouse, doesn’t it?

The upside-down fig tree, developed from a cuttings project carried out by Iain Greenwood in 1995 and the result of many subsequent grafts, has been a real success and will be showing its leaves very early in the new year.

Our most attractive and mysterious plant this year was a beautifully coloured Japanese maple. Is it a mystery, indeed? I’m not too sure! Maybe a riddle!

The witch hazel was purchased a couple of years ago from the Forest Estate, where it was a part of a living ashplant collection. We thought it was lovely and had given it a home. It’s now made its way into the front garden, and we’ve given it a space away from the pond because we thought it needed a little bit of a room. Now we think it is time for it to be watered a little bit more often, perhaps.

Our fruit trees did not disappoint this year. This is an upside-down fig that has also been susceptible to the greening problem.

We were surprised and happy to find that one of the table fruit trees had managed to produce a lot of fruit – one for sure and two of possibly! As you can see, the figs are off to one side – that is our neighbour’s olive tree!

The large pear is over 10 feet in height and the grafted pears and apples are about three feet in height and diameter. We planted them all together at the time, so they’re linked together, so that when they get too tall, they get cut off from their roots. These are now beginning to produce. There is a nest of five peach trees in this clump, which is also genetically linked. The tree and bushes in the background are an hibiscus that we’ve grown from seeds that were given to us.

The biggest fruit tree in this series is the upside-down fig – 9 feet in diameter and rising to almost 10 feet. We think it’s so tall because it’s growing through another large, young holly tree and it was almost impossible for us to transplant it!

And a total success. The two fruit trees in the foreground and those in the back garden were all given to us last year. The pear is a heirloom variety called Dorper, which has no relation to the huge Irish pear (or the French or Italian pears) but in its own right is quite sweet and interesting. We have two varieties on show: Wild Beauty and which we think of as our favourite, in terms of colour. And in the middle is another of Wild Beauty’s ancestors: Elizabeth Bell. The picture below was taken of an orchard we did not manage to grow very successfully.

The apples in this tree were grown by my husband. It was a particularly expensive fruit tree and we did not manage to grow it. It was very large and the deer loved eating it!

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We have a wide range of trees and we’re very proud of the fact that we grow almost all of them. The apple tree was one of the first to be planted and it was a success. I can remember taking apple blossom down from it in the night, as the apples were ready for picking – and carrying it all the way to the ferry! In those days the ferry was about half a mile away. The pears, however, were very disappointing and not nearly as interesting as they look today.

The most exotic looking tree in the collection is the belle japonica – a Japanese apricot. We had several problems with it, but the single fruit that was produced is an unusual looking specimen.

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We had originally planted the Black Krimson apple tree outside of the front and back of the house. We didn’t realise at the time that it would grow to about 30 feet tall! It is now sharing a space with the single chestnut tree and the zinfandel. The Chinese cinnamon has kept its proportions, and the 12-foot tall nectarine tree is a good neighbour to it. In the foreground is a Royal Gala pear tree that the children and I helped graft.

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This row of trees looks so comfy, doesn’t it? This is a dwarf grafted apple variety called Freedom, which we started growing in 2002 and a grand total of about 10 trees have been sold


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