Fruits of Labour

Last year we finished creating “Fruit Avenue” a long border running the length of the garden and which is sixteen metres long and two wide, it really is an avenue. It has a bulbous end named, “Judas Rise” and from above, this border looks like a Santa stocking. However, “finished” in this case meant “ready for planting”. Fruit Avenue spent most of the winter very fruitless and virtually bare. It’s not the fruit-filled cornucopia I want…yet.

This is changing though. Towards the end of last season, a pair of Rhubarb were planted:

  1. Rhubarb “Victoria”
  2. Rhubarb “Pink Champage
  3. To be bought – things should come in threes.

These were put in a shadier and wetter part of the border as these are the conditions they like. They did well in the first year, producing large spreading leaves before going dormant for the winter. Along with the rhubarb were two gooseberries:

  1. Gooseberry “Pax”
  2. Gooseberry “Invicta”
  3. To be bought – things need to be in threes

I’m not a fan of gooseberries but the other-half is, so being the incredibly generous, accepting and dedicated partner that I am, I allowed these in return for an IOU in the form of several Clematis.

For several months that was the total edible composition of Fruit Avenue until mid-winter, when six bare-root trees turned up. There were three plums and three cherries:

  1. Plum “Cambridge Gage”
  2. Plum “Victoria”
  3. Plum ” Opal”
  4. Cherry “Regina”
  5. Cherry “Stella”
  6. Cherry “Merchant”

There is a fair amount of research needed when figuring out the correct fruit trees to buy. You need to think about:

  • The root stock, which determines the eventual size and vigorousness
  • Hardiness (more important for trees such as peaches and nectarines)
  • Variety, which determines a whole manner of things, including taste
  • Fruiting time – so you don’t get inundated with tons of fruit at just one time of the year
  • Whether the tree is self-fertile, requires a partner (diploid) or requires three partners (triploid, ooh-err)
  • If the tree is not self fertile, then other varieties that are compatible with each other
  • Overlapping flowering times for trees that are not self fertile (compatible pollination groups)
  • Disease and pest resistance

It took me a long time to figure this mess out, even with the help of the internet where by collating the information from several online fruit tree specialists, I was finally able to make sense of all the considerations and actually buy something that might work.

The plums are on a Pixy root stock, giving their eventual size as 2.5 to 3 metres. The cherries are on a Gisella root stock, giving the same eventual size. Of course, the local and soil conditions play a big part in determining not only the eventual size, but also the tree health and fruit yield. The varieties of plums and cherries are not self-fertile or will fruit better with another variety so they were chosen to be compatible with each other but with the fruit ripening at different times of the year (early, mid-season and late).

Not content to stop there, we also bought and recently planted raspberry canes of three varieties:

  1. Raspberry “Leo”
  2. Raspberry “Glen Ample”
  3. Raspberry “Glen Prosen”

With six canes of each variety planted, we’re expecting to be able to pick at least a few raspberries from what’s left after the birds, insects, virus, disease and pests have had their fill. Unfortunately, as these are all summer fruiting raspberries, we won’t be picking anything this year.

Three blue berries have also found their home in Fruit Avenue:

  1. Blueberry “Sunshine Blue”
  2. Blueberry “Patriot”
  3. Blueberry “Bluecrop”

Topping this all off is a Japanese Wineberry that will clamber up a rose tower and a parentally-donated blackberry that I’ve yet to find a spot for.

This is quite a selection but the sheer size of this border means that there is still plenty of space left for many more plants. I’m hoping I’ll be able to add in a few more exotic berries listed in one of the fruit catalogues I’ve squirrelled away. Who knows, I might even think about filling the gaps with vegetables and towers of peas and runner beans?

Fruit Avenue - April 2016


  1. Your garden keeps going from strength to strength, Sunil. And soon you will have all those wonderful goodies from Fruit Avenue! I’m so happy I was able to see it in person. I don’t think it was finished when I visited was it? Seems we had our chairs out by the end of the row.


    1. Hello Lynn, I’m glad you were able to see it too. Where we were sat last time when you were here, you would have been able to reach behind and pick a cheeky raspberry had we planted all these a while ago. You might be able to by the next time you visit!


    1. Hello Mrs Mac; of course you can come over for lunch and crumble, it depends on the harvest though. The bushes are rather small at the moment so the number of berries we may get off them could be rather limited. That should improve in the coming years though, if it all goes well, otherwise it’s going to be all out and back to ornamentals.


  2. So much tastiness in that garden!! Birds eat all my berries. Last year mockingbirds would strip the blueberry bushes of every berry and then poop all over the patio furniture. I ended up giving those plants away because I didn’t have anywhere else to put them and was tired of cleaning up bird poop. You can munch your way through the garden. 🙂


    1. Hello Tammy, we’re also not certain what’s going to be left for us after the birds, insects, viruses, disease and what ever else have all taken their turn. We’ve planted in bulk in the hope that there might be something for us after we’ve fed everything else!


  3. What a lot of nice fruit. You won’t regret Gooseberry “Invicta”. They make a wonderful jam.


    1. Hello Alain, I’m not a great fan of gooseberry but if we do end up with a glut and I can find the recipe then we can have a go at making jam, depending on whether we have a decent crop. The plants are only small at the moment so it could be some time before they’re too productive for us to keep up.


    1. Hello Alistair, not as pristine nor anywhere near as perfect as your garden!


  4. I’m dreaming of pies, strudels, and crumbles. Not to mention jams and jellies. Are you growing strawberries? Strawberry rhubarb pie – yum!


    1. Hello Jason, we don’t have strawberries yet. I think I might go for the alpine or more species strawberries as the modern varieties need a lot of care and attention and need replacing as they get diseased and predated on.


  5. I had a feeling that my comment didn’t load the other day, so I am back to repeat myself! I have a couple of suggestions for rhubarb and gooseberries – I can’t call them recommendations, because I haven’t tasted them yet, but this year I’m trying Livingstone rhubarb – an autumn cropper to extend the crumble season & a gooseberry called Xenia, which I chose because it looks delicious. All your hard work is really paying off!


    1. Hello Sarah, this one did! Thank you for the suggestions on the third gooseberry and rhubarb varieties! We’re hoping Fruit Avenue will develop well in the coming years. The tree fruits will take the longest as they’re barely sticks at the moment!


    1. Thank you, Jayne. Some of the fruits we may get to enjoy this year, others will be coming along next year and the rest (such as the fruit trees) will hopefully join us by 2020.


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