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Espalier Apple Tree

Our new apple tree

Last weekend must have been the weekend for impulse buying for the garden. Both Jo at The Good Life and Caro at Urban Veg Patch succumbed to the charms of their local garden centre and they weren’t alone. I only popped in to have a look at climbing plants and came out with 2 pots of cottage pinks, a pond liner and an espaliered apple tree. Oh dear, where did my willpower go?

We had been thinking about a pond and an apple tree for a while but had procrastinated and managed to find plenty of reasons not to buy them; we should be saving up, too many bills to pay, how long are we going to stay in this house, all those sorts of things. Then I read a post at The Garden Smallholder by Karen, about her own pond and it got me thinking all over again. I started eyeing up potential spots, we don’t have much room so it would really depend on whether we could get the right size liner and that they weren’t too expensive. So I mentioned it to Wellyman and he said he was keen too. In the case of the apple, well we had the perfect spot for an espalier but thought we had left it too late to find one.

Scroll forward several days to the garden centre. We headed straight for the aquatic section where there was a liner that looked about the right size. Not ones to be totally impulsive, we took the measurments and decided we’d check first at home that it would fit without looking ridiculous and then maybe pop back on Sunday.

We then found the climbers and I had pretty much decided to go for a Trachelospermum jasminoides to go by our front door when I got distracted by some cottage pinks, which I love. There were really lovely specimens with plenty of cuttings potential and then Wellyman, who had wandered off somewhere reappeared declaring he had found the perfect apple tree and it was a good price. He was right, it was exactly the right size for it’s potential home, a two tiered Discovery apple. There followed much humming and hawing, the purchase of the cottage pinks and a trip home to do said measurements. An hour later we were back at the garden centre handing over the credit card. Ouch!

Garden Pond

The pond looking a little bare at the moment

So we’re now the proud owners of a pond and an apple tree. The bank balance has taken a bit of a hit. There are of course all the other costs involved, pond plants, stones for around the edge, plants for around the edge of the pond to give it that, well pondy feel. As for the apple, there are posts and hooks and wire and mycchorizal fungi. We spent another hour or so at the garden centre yesterday buying all that stuff. Even so, I’m sure we’ll get a huge amount of pleasure from both. I’m hoping we’ll attract some frogs, I could do with some help on the slug front and I’m looking forward to the blossom on the apple tree and then eating our own fruit in the autumn. Both will add different elements to the garden and I’ll have to learn how to prune an espalier properly, which is good because I like a new challenge.

Hopefully, with a dry weekend Wellyman should get the posts and wires in place for the apple so we can get rid of the temporary supports and then I need to hit the books to find some plants to put around the pond so it doesn’t look so bare. Although I don’t like makeover, instant gardens I never like the stage of a garden where you’re waiting for everything to fill out and there’s just a bit too much soil on display. It’s for this reason I tend to buy to many plants and then realise that it doesn’t actually take them too long to fill a space. So I will have to be more restrained this time.

This morning I made a small boggy area around the pond, digging out some soil and placing some black liner in the hole. I made sure there were plenty of holes in the liner and added some grit to the bottom, so that the soil doesn’t clog up the holes and then backfilled and planted up some Iris sibirica and a couple of ragged robin plants, both of which like damp soil. Hopefully it won’t be long before we’ve attracted some wildlife.

I’d just like to give a quick mention to Puddle Plants. One of the things that had put me off about establishing our own pond in the past had been the price of pond plants. The typical cost at our local garden centres was £6 a plant but at Puddle Plants they are around £2 to £3 and although there is a delivery charge they still worked out cheaper. They are based in Suffolk and have a great website and from ordering on Monday I had the plants by Thursday, so I would definitely recommend them.