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!
Brought By Bike is an excellent website I found last month, where businesses offer their services by (of course) bicycle. Modern Mint and my topiary work is now live on the site offering my topiary services, via bike, to the following two postcodes – CM1 CM2 Now I can imagine I will need to borrow a ladder should anyone have a larger shrub, but most town gardens in the Chelmsford area have a need not just for privacy but to let light into the house… so a balance must be struck when shaping hedges and shrubs to cover both needs. …
Transforming Topiary – a video made for the European Boxwood And Topiary Society by Charlotte Molesworth and I, in her garden. We take a dog topiary and work out how to update it, turning it into a bird. Worth a watch I think, and hopefully useful to you! You can see more of my clipping on the topiary page. Or read my Spring 2021 Topiary Provocation here.
Phillyrea is one of my favourite plants for topiary. I have been using it for quite a few years as a specimen shrub, mostly due to the fact it clips well and has a tough habit – all good characteristics for a topiary plant. It also has a reputation for being an excellent nectar source for bees… Read more about Phillyrea here. Mentioning this to Malcolm Thicke, a market garden historian and writer, he sent me a some photos of topiary and phillyrea mentioned by John Worlidge in Systema Horticulturae from 1682…. incredible! He also mentioned to me that in …