Saturday, 2 March 2013

Fruit Tree forest in the making...

This idea grew after having the pool done. We had so much rock around the garden and the land that it just seemed silly to go and buy a different product. I was a bit fed up with concrete and felt like it was taking over our lives after the terrace being built. So I decided that this forest would be as natural as I could make it.
The idea is that one day we will have a wild area with flowers for the bees, herbs and fruit trees all linked together by paths made of rock. We were thinking of the summer here and how hot it gets so the more natural shade we can bring into the garden the better.
We bought the trees from a little place not far from the house. The owners were lovely telling us how to look after them and the best pairings for fruit. We bought, a walnut tree, 2 apples, 2 pairs, 2 plums, 2 cherries, 1 fig, 1 apricot, 1 nectarine and a peach tree.

This soil was very poor and had lots of rock in it too. We knew that we would have to plant them in something to enable to roots to begin spreading. We bought bags of potting compost (as our compost was not ready) and began the task of planting.

This is the walnut tree
We built the sides up around the outside of the tree to enable the dew to be caught easier and also to make sure the water did not run away, as the land is slightly sloped even after all the levelling. Also you can see the plastic bottles planted with the trees. These were 2l bottles, we cut the bottoms off and planted them neck down so that we could be sure the tree roots got 2l of water everyday.

The next job was building the paths. This seemed to take forever! I was working away at the time and so only had the weekends to do it. I marked out where I wanted the paths to go and then had to find suitable rocks to use.


As the herb wheels were being built around the same time. We linked the paths to the edges of them so that we could use the paths to get anywhere in the forest.

After a few weeks I could see that the weeds were growing around the base of the trees. This is not good when we are so limited  on water as they were taking the trees water. I set about trying to make a barrier to cut down the amount of weeds that could encroach on the trees space. Again this meant finding rocks from the pile that could be used.

We decided that we wanted to see if we could grow some grass to begin making this area look a bit more natural. We sowed the seed and covered with netting to keep the birds off. We only did a small patch as it is so dry here we didn't know if it would grow. We were relying on the dew in the morning to water it as we have no mains connection to water.

This wasn't very successful...some grew but the native weeds just over took once again. We have now resorted to strimming them to keep them in check until the spring.
Last spring we saw the first evidence of flowers beginning to appear. Hopefully this year they will have spread around the garden. I have also bought some wild flower seeds to put down, but this will have to wait until April when we tend to get more rain.