One of my clients gave me a challenge just before Christmas to design a small orchard for her back garden to tempt her 3 young boys into eating more fruit. However, it needed to look good throughout the year as it would be seen from the back of the house and be able to withstand battering from the wind and rain as well as the local very hungry deer whilst hopefully bearing fruit in 2015.
Previous attempts with young trees, such as are normally available from garden centres, had been destroyed by the deer or had struggled in the clay based and therefore somewhat boggy soil.
So to tackle all the various challenges I contacted a great tree nursery (Barcham Trees) to see what large mature fruit trees they had available. Given the size of the garden, I recommended seven trees in a mix of eating apples (Egrement Russet, Cox’s Pippin and Discovery), a Victoria Plum as well as two ornamental crab apples and an autumn flowering prunus. All of which are good in clay soils and were available as 4-5m size trees which when planted properly with H-frames and deer protection should be able to establish well and be resilient to the weather and animal challenges ahead of them!