We’re in the process of turning the Beach House garden into an orchard of sorts. Each birthday and christmas I will be hopefully getting a new fruit tree to plant, I have my eye on a rare pear tree (pink inside and tasting of fennel) which has been discovered by Ian Sturrock who has discovered many different rare fruit trees all over North Wales and the UK. Soon we will have pears and peaches to add to our gorgeous bounty of garden fruits.
Our latest tree is called Johnny (named after Johnny Appleseed, a very interesting American folk hero who basically spent his whole life wandering around planting apple trees) and it is a Bardsey Island Apple Tree (see here for more info on this almost extinct apple variety). My Mum bought it for me in May for my birthday and its been sitting quite happily in the front garden and even produced quite a few very tasty apples. A few weeks ago, just as the warm, light nights began to taper in, we knew it was time for Johnny to find a more permanent home. We cleared away a hidden rockery, unearthing some lovely little heather plants, and planted Johnny in a nice big hole, filled and surrounded by rich soil. If you are looking at planting trees this autumn (its a little late now I know, but still very do-able) here are the basic steps in a successful fruit tree re-location. These steps apply to most ages of trees and sapling, ours is roughly 2-3 years old.
If you are planting the tree in a windy location, you will need to support it until it is established. A tree blowing around in the wind will form a well in the base of the trunk where water will gather creating what is called ‘butt rot’. Which doesn’t sound like a good thing!
It really is quite straightforward and incredibly rewarding. To think of the pies, crumbles and unadulterated apple fun that Johnny is going to provide us and hopefully future generations with can only make you feel very wholesome and satisfied. Planting trees is surely one of the finest hobbies anybody could have. We are planning on starting small nurseries or rowan, oak, hawthorn etc all over Tiger Mountain (the hill that we live on). Queue guerrilla tree planting sessions all around North Wales, where much of the forests and woodlands have been cut down to accommodate huge amounts of sheep. We’re bringing back the trees! One ‘Johnny’ at a time and when they happen to provide delicious fruits, it seems that nature is surely spoiling us!
If you like the sound of planting trees and making efforts to reforest the planet, you may like the book ‘The Man Who Planted Trees’ a beautiful little story about one mans life time quest to reforest a barren area in the Alps. I read this book in Auroville, India. A experimental township with over 5000 inhabitants where the entire area has been completely reforested, taken from a barren, dusty land to a thriving verdant forest where monkeys and big cats are moving back to and where a state of natural equilibrium has returned. It is stunning to think of what we could do, in a generation, if we planted a few trees along the way. It only takes a short time and will definitely have a very positive effect on the earth and future generations. Just like ‘The Man Who Planted Trees’, bury a few acorns the next time you wander around some tree-less areas and in a few years, you may have your very own saplings to be proud of.
For a proper professional in action and a very interesting site relating to all things orchards and fruit trees, see Ian Sturrock and Sons.