Renovating & Restoring Neglected Fruit Trees

Many people move to new homes where the previous owners or even the builders had planted fruit trees. In pre-war years there was often an emphasis on providing new homeowners with two fruit trees – an eating apple and a cooking apple. The reality is that these trees usually get left unpruned or get hacked about as the garden owners have no time or knowledge to manage the trees. The results of this neglect are either small trees, part dying through branch suffocation or large, unfruitful trees that are completely out of control and are an unsightly mess. And, of course, quite a few gardeners plant fruit trees themselves only to lose control of them very quickly…. this is where I often take over as much of my business nowadays involves restoring old orchards and garden grown fruit trees. Continue reading

Silver Leaf infects the wood through wounds and causes silvering of the leaf folliowed by death of the branch.

Growing Plums in the Garden

Plums are a wonderful fruit to eat and cook with and fortunately an ideal fruit for growing at home, so please ignore the pundits who may suggest the contrary! When I refer to plums I use this term to include gages as they are essentially the same fruit. Gages are considered to be so named after Sir Thomas Gage who was a great fan of the juiciest plums and would go out of his way to select and hunt out the finest. Continue reading

Pomona Fruits

Summer Pruning Made Easy

If you are growing restricted forms of top fruit trees – cordons, espaliers, fans, pyramids, stepovers or even bushes – you need to undertake your pruning in the summer to help ensure maximum fruitfulness and vigour as well as for keeping your trees in good shape. Additionally, the removal and shortening of shoots and thereby leaves will allow more light to get the fruit which is essential for late ripening varieties. Continue reading

Empathy ‘mini meadow’ seed mix is the ideal way to achieve the perfect habitat for pollinating insects (bees, bugs and butterflies).

Pollination of Fruit Trees

The flowers of the ‘top’ fruit trees that we grow in the UK – apples, pears, cherries, plums, peaches and nectarines – have both male and female parts and for a fruit to be created these female parts must receive pollen from the male parts of another flower – usually from another tree. In the majority of cases this means that you cannot grow a single top fruit tree by itself – unless you happen to have another close by in a neighbour’s garden. Continue reading

Merryweather Damson is sweet enough to be used as a dessert plum when fully ripe.

Damsons for the Finest Jams

Although generally considered to be part of the plum family, damsons (and bullaces) are of the species Prunus insititata whereas plums are of the species Prunus domestica. The name ‘damson’ is derived from Damascus in Syria where it is considered that it originated and was introduced into England, in due course, by the Romans. The damson is also known as the damson plum or Damask plum in parts of Europe where it is used to make the spirit slivovitz. Bullaces, which are more acidic and lower in sugar than damsons, are considered to be native to Britain. Continue reading