Archive for the ‘Fruit Garden’ Category

signs of Spring coming, necterine blossom Spring is on it’s way …

I spent a couple of hours in the polytunnel today and the Nectarine is in full blossom. It looks absolutely gorgeous … I thought I must share it with someone.

It’s one of the many signs that Spring is well and truly on its way.

At this time of the year there is a distinct lack of flying insects in the garden, and there is little to no wind in the polytunnel, so tomorrow I’ll get a soft haired paint brush and help them along with a little artificial pollination.

As soon as any threat of frost has passed I’ll move it out into it’s summer position.

Nature is a truly wonderful thing.

Best wishes,

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James Grieve

Apple – Red Devil

Looking like it’s going to be a bumper year in the orchard.

We planted the trees in September 2008 so this is our second summer and the trees are well and truly established.  We’ve had to do very little other than we gave them a light prune last Autumn by taking about 4 inches off the end of each branch and made sure we watered  them in dry spells.

In the Spring we covered the blossom with fleece when frost was forecast which seems to have paid off.

Not so great with the pears though.

Conference Pear

Conference Pear

We had loads on both the Conference and Doyenne Du Commice in the Spring, but they’ve all disappeared over the summer, and now we only have a couple on each tree. 😦

Cox's Orange Pippin Apple

Cox’s Orange Pippin Apple

Bramley Apple

Bramley Cooking Apple

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I always look forward to the May bank holiday weekend  as it’s probably the best weekend for blossom. These are four of my favorites, Plum, Apple, Pear and Cherry. The cherry grows wild in the hedgerows around Blackbirds.

Spring Blossom

As the weather is so mild we stand a good chance of a bumper harvest in the orchard.



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Thought we’d try our hand at growing some Necterines this year so bought a single tree from the local Nursery. After a shaky start it’s been repsonding quite well. Initially we put it in the Polytunnel but after a couple of weeks the leaves started to turn pale and drop off. The blossom was fantastic but as it looked so sick we didn’t hold out much hope, then I read an article that suggested nectarines thrive in the South outside in a sheltered spot. So we moved it out alongside the poly and I’m pleased to say it started to respond and 4 weeks later it’s looking a lot healthier as you can see.



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We finally got around to planting out our fruit trees last weekend .. which is just as well given the hard frost we’ve had over the last 48hrs.  Went down to -5 last night !!

As we are on chalk in Hampshire we excavated a hole 3 times the size of the pot and back filled with a mixture of good top soil (we had left over from building the Poly tunnel) and well rotted farmyard manure. In addition we threw in some bonemeal to give the roots a good start along with some natural root growth fertilizer.


Before each tree was planted we added a stake and some purpose made tree ties. Well worth it and at £2.00 didn’t break the bank. We planted 9 trees (Victoria plum to follow) so we’ll eventually have 10 altogether which just about constitutes an orchard … well we’d like to think so. 🙂  Now all we do is wait and with a bit of luck we should have fruit next year.


Apple – ‘Red Devil’

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appWe always planned an orchard as part of the dream and as this is the ideal time to plant fruit trees (November – March) we decided to bite the bullet and invest in some mature trees. After a friend had recommended the Leckford Estate Nursery nr Stockbridge we went to check it out and found they had a 10% promotion on everything !! We managed to save £25 on the bill … which we used to buy some fertilizer to give the trees the best possible start.

After several days of research we decided on the usual Apples, Pears, Plums and a Peach or Nectarine just to see if we can manage to produce a crop using the Poly Tunnel.

We had planned to add a Lemon tree to the collection but they need a constant temperature between 5 & 10 degrees which we’re not able to provide, so decided against it.

After a short lesson in selecting varieties we settled on the following varieties:

Red Devil, James Grieve, Cox Orange Pippin, Discovery and a Bramley as we plan to remove our existing Bramley tree due to the build.

Marjorie Seedling

Plan to get a Victoria but Leckford had sold out … we’ll pick on up from somewhere.

Conference, Commice

Floral Top

Plan to put them all in this weekend but as yet haven’t decided exactly where and how, but should have some pics to post over the weekend of what will eventually become the Peach Grove Orchard!

More later …

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