De­sign So­lu­tions

Plan now for a fruit-filled sum­mer gar­den, says Louisa Gil­hooly

Garden Answers (UK) - - Contents -

Plan now for a fruit-filled sum­mer gar­den

Q How can I grow fruit in my small ur­ban gar­den?

YOU DON’T need acres of land to grow your own fruit. You can train many fruit trees up walls or grow them as minia­ture forms, and plant soft fruit in pa­tio pots. Even the small­est back gar­den can pro­vide its owner with fruit all year round, space for re­lax­ation and nec­tar-rich flow­ers for wildlife. This de­sign aims to cre­ate an at­trac­tive cot­tage-style gar­den us­ing plants that are both ed­i­ble and or­na­men­tal. It cen­tres on a work­ing/sit­ting area, sur­rounded by fruit­ing and flow­er­ing plants that spill over onto the path­ways. Func­tion­al­ity is key and here the dif­fer­ent ter­rac­ing lev­els of the ex­ist­ing space of­fer the per­fect op­por­tu­nity for mak­ing a fea­ture of raised planters. The tiny lawn has been re­placed with four small beds sep­a­rated by brick paths and the shed moved to pro­vide an ex­tra ver­ti­cal grow­ing area in sun. Decorative obelisks sup­port climb­ing plants such as gourds or sweet peas for cut­ting. If al­lowed to grow nat­u­rally, most fruit trees will eas­ily be­come too tall for most small gardens. To over­come the prob­lem, choose trees grafted onto dwarf­ing root­stocks, which have a more com­pact habit. These gen­er­ally grow to around 2m (6½ft), or smaller if grown in a pot. You need an M27 root­stock for a tiny ap­ple tree, Quince C for pear, Gisela 5 for cherry and Pixy for plum. Small fruit trees and shrubs hap­pily grow in pots on a pa­tio. Blue­ber­ries hate al­ka­line soil, but will thrive in a tub of er­i­ca­ceous com­post; ‘Top Hat’ and ‘Nel­son’ are both par­tially self-fer­tile. Ten­der plants such as small citrus trees can be taken in­side in their pots to pro­tect them from frosts. Le­mon ‘Meyer’ is a com­pact, re­li­able choice. Plant­ing fruit trees in pots will help to re­strict their height, al­low­ing you to pro­duce mon­sters such as a ‘Brown Turkey’ fig. Un­der­plant them with low-grow­ing herbs or an­nu­als.

Grow­ing trees in pots will help re­strict their height

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