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25 February 2019
I often ask why people fill their gardens with ornamental flowering trees when they can have flowers and tasty fruit? (Two for the price of one!)

I often ask why people fill their gardens with ornamental flowering trees when they can have flowers and tasty fruit? (two for the price of one).  Last Autumn I picked my first crop of damsons, which were lovely on their own but I also made some damson vodka and it got me thinking. Where could I put some more fruit trees in the garden and of what varieties? We have 5 damsons, plenty of soft fruit and several varieties of cobnut, which by the way are really easy to grow and I think are often overlooked. I settled on more apples and plums.

First task is to get the planting holes ready. This is important and helpful at this time of the year when the ground is not baked and dry. I dig a much bigger and deeper hole than is necessary to make sure a) the roots have a free run and b) there is free drainage. Nothing hurts trees more than being put in a water sodden hole in the ground, so make sure you dig deep enough to break up any clay or chalk cap that often sits about a foot below the surface. I then fill the bottom of the hole with broken up turf pieces if I am planting in the lawn. This feeds the roots overtime and helps preserve moisture, but still allows water to freely drain.


For the apples I have gone for a pippin based flavour. Eaten straight from the tree, cut in four and paired with a slice of Montgomery cheddar and a glass of sauvignon blanc is superb. All old varieties we have a Rubinette Pippin, Christmas pippin, Ashmead’s Kernel and cox’s orange Pippin itself. For the plums I have added an Avalon, (which is very similar to a Victoria plum) and an Oullin’s gage and old fashioned greengage. All were bought from Orange Pippin mail order and as usual all arrived on time and in good condition.


Planting multiple varieties of new fruit trees always seems like the right thing to do. It preserves diversity and the trees provide a host to many things other than the obvious bees.
 
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