We planted our orchard in autumn-winter of 2016-17 and so far we have managed to taste our first delicious dessert apples, pears, cherries, plums, medlars and let's say miniature mulberries as well as sweet chestnuts. We are still waiting for our first quinces to get all the way to being harvested.
Being 'beginners', we didn't do everything quite right to start with but we are learning our lessons, and try to listen and work with nature.
Lessons being learnt
Deers, rabbits ... and strong coastal winds
After planting the young fruit trees in a sunny south facing area, we very quickly realised what a windy and exposed setting it is.
Therefore, 250 hornbeam plants went in next to create a dense hedging windbreak and protection for the young orchard.
Very pleased with ourselves, we went on with living our busy lives and left the fruits trees to settle.
We were absolutely devastated when we found the trees and their bark eaten to the 'bones' above the trees guards by rabbits and muntjac deer.
Sadly, it has set the trees back and they needed time to recover.
Happy to say that all the trees look happy and are thriving now.
They all got the protection they so needed.
Our regular visitor 'Bambi" the muntjac has moved into our front garden and we are happily sharing our roses with her now.
North End Damson Jam
Talking about the orchard, we have to mention here our mature Bramley Apple tree and a large hedgerow of damson trees. The mature trees came with our house. Lucky us!
We think that the damson trees are around 60 to 70 years old and the apple tree is even older.
We are currently taking care of a few young damson trees which have self seeded and we are designing parts of the garden around them.
There is no summer season without North End damson jam.
The best way of learning about gardening is just doing it. Nevertheless sometimes we don't know how to start and good advice is priceless.
This was the case when we were wondering how to prune and care about our fruit trees.
Thanks to an informative and practical course at the Norfolk School of Gardening we got our confidence boosted and felt able to go ahead...