Planting an Orchard

One of my abiding memories from the day we moved to our house was exploring the garden properly for the first time. It was a gloriously warm spring day and the apple and pear trees that cluster together half way down the garden were in blossom. Whilst there was much work to be done on clearing the areas that were overrun with brambles and nettles, and dealing with the insanely tall Leylandii that left much of the lawn in shadow each morning, there was no question that the fruit trees would be staying.

Fast-forward nearly two years and we’ve cleared the overgrowth, felled the conifers, and have tentatively divided the long rectangular space into three sections: a vegetable garden at the far end, an orchard in the middle, and a formal garden by the house. The vegetable garden was completed just over a year ago, and we plan to wait to create the formal garden until any works on the house are complete. However the orchard is something we’ve been keen to make a start on for a while, not least because trees obviously take forever to get established.

We finally bit the bullet a couple of weeks ago and ordered eight bare root trees from the hugely helpful people at Pomona Fruits, which I have planted today. We decided to go for a mixed bag to keep things interesting, as I am keen to avoid a glut of any one thing after last year’s courgette-fest.

Above: The new pear tree with the existing Bramley apple in the background

The existing trees appear to have been planted in two rows of four (although gaps suggest half did not make it) so we’ve continued this layout across the whole space. Once established, the idea is that the trees will break up the sight line from the house and therefore add a little intrigue as to what might lie beyond. We are clearly going to have to be incredibly patient as, the quince for example, won’t reach full size for another ten years. Thankfully we should have fruit in a couple, in which case I had better start stockpiling jam jars.

In case you’re interested, here is a list of what we’ve planted (in addition to the two apple trees and two pear trees that we already had):

Images: Pomona Fruits

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