Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to grow your own apples, even if you have a small garden?
Conventional apple trees need quite a bit of space, so ornamentally trained trees are perfect for small gardens, and also look great in large gardens. They have a strong structural shape in winter, lovely blossom in spring and fruit in the autumn.
Growing your own fruit means that you can have quinces and mulberries and a much wider variety of apple types that aren’t easily available to buy in the shops.
They all need a stout framework or a wall to grow against.
The most common ornamental shapes are:
A single stem grown against a fence or wall at a 45 degree angle, several apples can be grown in a small area as they only need 75cm between each other. Pears do very well grown like this and can also be included in the arrangement.
The branches are trained in symmetrical pairs off either side of the main stem, see photo above.
Has a single low branch growing at a right angle to the main stem, they make an attractive edge to a bed. I have two of them growing at either side of the path in front of my vegetable bed.
What I like about these is that they are both decorative and practical. They’re on a dwarfing root-stock so will only grow to 50cm tall and yet when mature should produce about 10-15lbs of fruit a year…. and they look very smart whichis equally important.
Their neat shape is both practical and ornamental and I like to include them in my designs where it’s appropriate.
Of course they have to be pruned to maintain this shape, but all apple trees should be pruned to maximise the amount of fruit they produce.
I prefer to buy fruit trees and bushes as bare-root plants at this time of year. They’re cheaper than potted plants and often easier to establish, as long as you follow a few simple rules (more of this later).
They’re available in the autumn and suppliers often run out of stock later in the year, so it’s a good time to start planning and ordering what you’d like to grow.
More in part 2 at the end of the week about how to choose the right type for you and the best planting method.