The fruit trees at Heligan are really well trained and shaped. We don’t intend to do anything as complex as these. The fan and espalier trained trees are very impressive.
However, we both really loved the arched walk of apples. Obviously, we can’t replicate the ones at Heligan exactly – it would be bigger than the back garden. But we can have an archway and a “hedge”.
Just one of the arches with an apple on each side and then 2 or 3 trees trained as a cordon on each side of the arch. We found a local tree nursery that sells Gloucestershire varieties of apple and pear – so we can have 6 to 8 different ones.
The challenge will be the pruning. A helpful gardener explained how they prune. The first part is the February or March prune to cut back to 1 or 2 buds on any shoots. They also prune out branches in the summer. Branches and shoots without fruit are removed to keep air circulating. The result is in the picture below.
A slightly easier thing to do is to just plant the tree and then peg out the branches. The guys at Knightshayes have been restoring the kitchen gardens over the last 10 years.The idea of pegging out the branches when young is to keep air circulating and make it easier to pick fruit.
There is not much growing in the lean months over the winter. There is kale and chard – Eden project and Knightshayes.
At Knightshayes there was something unusual as well. A giant perennial kale – Taunton Dean cottagers kale. It grows to over 6 feet and provides greens through the winter and spring. I am not sure where we can get hold of this because it doesn’t often set seeds.