We’ve decided to use the good fence between the orchard and the veg plots for espalier fruit trees and I have taken it upon myself to spearhead this particular project. I will be setting up a working group to gather relevant information, laying out an implementation and design plan and instructing a task and finish group to complete the project.
It appears that I am the only member of the working group and so far I have set the following parameters for the trees that I would like to plant in this area:
1. Must be a heritage variety
2. Must all work together pollination wise (i.e. from the same or neighbouring pollination groups)
3. Must be a mix of cooking and eating fruits
4. Must be suitable for slightly heavy and a little bit damp soil
5. Must be spur bearing not tip bearing as this is better for espalier training
6. Varieties must ideally include some (if not all) varieties that are suitable for storage
So, after a bit of research I’ve decided to stick with apples, because frankly, they seem the easiest and the most useful overall. I found a great website that lists all of the varieties that originated in Leicestershire as figured that as heritage varieties go it was probably sensible to start in the local vicinity.
The long and the short of it is, that I think these varieties will do the job. I think (although I need to check out rootstock options and the actual amount of space we have) we may be able to get five in there.
http://www.orangepippin.com/apples/annie-elizabeth This is a cooker that originated just down the road in Knighton. (Pollination Group E)
http://www.keepers-nursery.co.uk/product.aspx?id=BELSEE&v=4 This is also a cooker and originated at Belvoir castle (PG D)
http://www.keepers-nursery.co.uk/product.aspx?id=STAILR&v=4 This is an eater, not actually sure where from, but Leic somewhere (PG C)
http://www.orangepippin.com/apples/red-devil This is another eater and it comes from Kent, which isn’t Leicestershire but does have a link to the plot as Z was born there. It has white flesh which is infused with the red pigmant from the skin, sounds good. (PG C)
http://www.keepers-nursery.co.uk/product.aspx?id=COCPIP&v=4 And this is the last eater which I’ve put in to even it up a bit really as it’s from Surrey and that’s where I was born :-). It’s a bit russety apparently but stores well. (PG C)
Having had a look around I don’t think buying root balled stock is an option so we’ll need to wait for the bare rooted stock to be available for order in May time for planting in November. That was the implementation plan. Task and Finish group to resume in May.