THE MODERN MINT BLOG
Growing fruit is ideal when you want your own produce. It is low maintenance, tastes great and because you are growing it yourself you can choose varieties you just won’t get in the shops.
The best place to start is to read Joan Morgan’s Fruit Forum. We only recently discovered it when we saw a blog post asking ‘Where Have All The English Cherries Gone?’ after buying the tastiest, freshest cherries we have ever eaten and wanting to know more about British fruit.
(Essex, where we now run our garden design studio from, was always a big fruit producing county and apparently the UK climate suits growing fruit, especially for plums which need a winter chilling… although a warming climate may change things!)
Joan Morgan is a fruit expert – you can get her book The New Book Of Apples: The Definitive Guide to Over 2000 Varieties on Amazon, and as apples are likely to be the first fruit you add to your garden it will help you decide exactly which type to grow.
UPDATE: The Apple Book by Rosie Sanders, which garnered a glowing review recently in Gardens Illustrated as “an attractive introduction to the joys of British apples…” also mentioned how superb Joan Morgan’s ‘New Book of Apples’ is. Good to know these books are out there and the information you want is at hand!
Great nurseries to buy fruit from in the UK are:
Grow at Brogdale. They also have the National Fruit Collection.
Orange Pippin Trees. They have lots of advice online.
Keepers Nursery. Where you can find cobnuts!
Places in Essex to learn more about growing fruit are:
Crapes Fruit Farm – near Colchester, they have a regularly updated blog and specialise in lesser known varieties of apples.
Tiptree Jam Factory – this must be world famous by now, surely? We have friends in Paris who come to the UK just to stock up on their jam, and now we live in Essex we won’t buy anything else. They grow fruit for the exact reason you should – because they can get varieties no-one else can provide them. They even have mulberries… a tree we would love to plant more of for our clients.
Clay Barn – a quince orchard no less! Unusual fruit and beautiful trees, an old client of ours has two in their 54 tree orchard and the fruits always felt like a gift when ready to be harvested. For cooking suggestions try Jane Grigson’s Fruit Book (Penguin Cookery Library)
A reader of this blog also sent a link to Oxford Wild Foods. It is a website mapping places you can find food growing for free. Are there any other websites like this? Do let us know via our contact page.
For more information on growing fruit either speak to the nurseries above or buy these books we have added below – mostly by Bob Flowerdew and Mark Diacono – which should give you the confidence and a few tips and tricks to make the best of your garden for growing fruit!
We are fans of effective microbes, and use the in our topiary work. They help keep plants healthy, meaning the plants have more tools in their toolbox and energy in their lives to stave off any diseases. Here is a lovely article that tells you how to make your own microbes. Right at the end. Make Your Own Microbes
Boxwood is one of our absolute favourite plants. The evergreen leaf that shines in winter, the smell as you clip it, the brilliant shapes you can make from it… but it is suffering somewhat from two major problems: Box Blight Boxwood Caterpillar and Moth None of this is the be all and end all for boxwood, but it helps to be aware of it and know a little about what you can do should either of these problems arise. Boxwood Caterpillar & Moth I hadn’t seen this in a garden I worked on until this spring, when a client I …
Last weekend I visited the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, to take part in an orchard design course they were running. Beautiful place and a warm day, I recommend a visit. I came home with 3 bottles of cider. Drank them all. Then realised they were weighing in at 8%. I don’t recover that quickly (no longer being 20 years old) and so had something of a musty head the next morning. The power of apples I say! Below are some notes I made from the day. They may be of use to you, although really they are there for …