Debbie explained she “moved into the house in 1999 and inherited a garden planted with various perennial shrubs, some of which were much too large for the space. The garden is 8 metres by 4.5 metres and in 2012, for my 50th birthday I planted fruit trees and soft fruit.
I’d been involved in developing the community Orchard (Orchard 49) at Seymour Grove allotments designed to show how you can grow fruit in small spaces, so it seemed a natural choice to create an orchard in my back yard. With [this] garden, I wanted to grow food of some kind and fruit became the obvious choice after trying to grow beans (and lots of different flowers) that were decimated by slugs. The slugs don’t really bother with the raspberries or the apples and pears. I netted the cherry tree this year and the fruit were amazing – first time I’ve had them not the birds pecking at them and then discarding them.”
“Because of the knowledge I’d gained in developing orchard 49 I didn’t have any problem deciding which trees to choose (pollination partners being important for apples and pears) and am confident with pruning them. Anyone who would like to learn is welcome to get involved in the community orchard (see separate entry for the orchard).”
“Technically, only 5 fruit trees are needed to create an orchard. In my garden I have 6, three of which are trained – this means the trees are regularly pruned into a shape. I have two espaliered trees (Pear Winter Nellis and Pear Beth) and a stepover apple (Ashmead’s Kernel). As well as these, I also have two other apple trees; Tydeman’s Late Orange and D’Arcy Spice and last but not least a cherry tree (Stella).”
“In between the trees I also grow soft fruit, strawberries in a container (to try and keep the slugs at bay), blackberries trained along one on the walls and raspberries.”
“As bees are so important I also have plenty of flowering plants, mainly perennials. Some have already flowered (alliums, aquilegia, hellebores), but you can see agapanthus, ajuga reptans (for ground cover), Bettony, Geraniums (my favourite being Anna Folkard), meadow rue (Thalictrum delavayi) Sweet Cicely and verbena bonariensis.”
When asked how her garden makes her feel, Debbie responded, “Proud! I love the feeling of the garden, it is a little green oasis. Opposite my garden across the alley is a garden that is almost wild, making it a wildlife haven. The birds absolutely love it and I always enjoy listening to them and watching them when I’m in my garden, especially when the youngsters are learning to fly.”