Living in the temperate Pacific Northwest means Spring gets sprung earlier than in many other parts of the country. Already, we have flowering plums and cherries showing a bit of dainty pink as the sunny daffodils begin to unfurl from their winter slumber [Insert Screeching Noise Here].
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Espalier is the art of growing ornamental or fruit bearing trees and shrubs horizontally. Bending and shaping them while young to your will, which when you think about it, is kind of like raising children except, unless there’s a tornado in your back yard, your trees will never leave you for a woman in Germany. But, I digress again.
Even though I live on a double lot in the city, my preferred method of growing fruits is the Espalier. Not only is it decorative, it serves several useful functions as well. The fruit remains fully accessible from a standing position (for most of us) and the annual pruning becomes an art project.
Many nurseries sell pre-espaliered trees. Last weekend while perusing stock at The Portland Nursery, I became enamored of the 6 apple variety – imagine growing Macintosh, Gala, Yellow Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji and Gravenstiens all on one tree! At nearly $80.00 each, I quickly rethought and instead, carefully selected a semi-dwarf Granny Smith. You see, I’m kind of renowned for my Apple Butter and the only variety I ever use is the Granny Smith. Practicality wins again! Also on the wagon at my partners request were a Bing and Ranier cherry.
Note: When purchasing fruit trees, it’s important to check and see if they are self-polinating, or need another type of fruit to help them bear. Granny Smiths are self-polinaters, however, cherries need a different variety to help them along, hence the Bing/Ranier marriage.
And now, a really helpful video on how to make your Espalier Dreams Come True!
Bon Jour and Happy Gardening!