With warm weather and a reasonable dollop of rain a week or two ago, fruit is swelling around the garden, harmonising with my gently growing lockdown girth. There is no such a thing as too much gooseberry ice-cream.
If you have space to grow fruit in your garden, but think fruit bearing plants don’t look too comely, there are several species that not only offer succulent flavour for your palate, but offer ornamental good-looks to the garden. Beauty and productivity; the best kind of plant in my book.
Here are a few of my favourite plants to inspire you, and one or two suggested by my colleagues.
Apricot ‘Flavorcot’; I am growing this on clay soil in a sheltered south facing position. The tree bears a wonderful fruit, that has no resemblance to shop–bought apricots. My tree produces soft orange fruit with a superb flavour and Factor 9 on the juicy stakes. What is more, the tree has attractive leaves and blossom and new flushes of growth are a great peachy colour.
Apple ‘Red Windsor’; It is self-fertile dessert apple, so there is no need to worry about pollination partners. It grows tidily and apples can be picked over several weeks, so you do not have to deal with a glut. It seems untroubled by the usual diseases of apples and the fruit is a beautiful bright red colour.
Quince, Chaenomales catheyensis. This has exquisite white flowers and produces large fragrant fruit. Also great for making jellies. The tree is not too vigorous, or too unwieldy.
Japanese wineberry; This is a Japanese climbing raspberry. Lovely hairy red stems cut through the winter gloom. It is not too thorny and has gorgeous flower clusters. Tasty raspberry berries have a a hint of sherbet on the finish according to garden writer Alys Fowler. The plant is best fan trained to a wall or fence, but can be grown as a bush. This one is not prone to pests and diseases or suckering. I have just bought two for my garden after being inspired on a recent Webinair lecture by Jim Abury the Horticultural Specialist in fruit, at RHS Wisley.
I hope you are inspired. Whilst you look the plants up, I am off to the kitchen to make sure I put the gooseberry ice-cream back in the freezer…