Autumn fruits in a formal garden

Fruit can be as decorative as flowers in the garden and this type of planting looks its best in early autumn. Here, in this walled garden, foursquare beds edged with two-tier espaliered pear trees each contain an old, flavoursome variety of apple tree in a bed of roses covered with hips. Morello cherries are trained against the walls and an arched gateway, framed with more rose hips, leads to an orchard with quince and medlar trees. Blueberries, which need an acid soil, grow in a pot in the centre.

Preparation and planting
1. Beds planted with fruit trees should be supplemented with compost to give a free-draining but rich soil. Some varieties of apples and pears need certain varieties grown alongside them for fertilisation, so ask a specialist fruit grower for advice before buying the trees.
2. Put the supports in place and plant the espaliers and fan-trained cherries in autumn or winter. In spring, mulch the base of the trees and keep them watered until established. In the first year, if your trees are young, do not allow them to fruit too much, so they bed in gently. Plant the roses in autumn and the alpine strawberries in spring.
3. Prune the espaliers and fan-trained trees in autumn or winter and again in summer for maximum fruit production and to keep the plants in goodshape.

Autumn plant list
1. Cydonia oblonga 'Vranja' (quince)
2. Mespilus germanica (medlar)
3. Malus x moerlandsii
'Profusion' (crab apple)
4. Malus domestica
'Orleans Reinette' (apple)
5. Malus domestica 'Ashmead's Kernel'
6. Malus domestica 'Nonpareil'
7. Rosa 'Rambling Rector'
8. Prunus cerasus 'Morello' (cherry)
9. Vaccinium corymbosum 'Bluecrop' (blueberry)
10. Fragaria vesca 'Alexandra' (alpine strawberry)
11. Rosa rugosa 'Alba'
12. Pyrus communis 'Williams' Bon Chrétien', 'Doyenné du Comice', 'Concorde' and 'Beurré Superfin' (pear), grown as a two-tier espalier

APRIL 2005