So what shall we have first: the good news or the bad? Let's get the not-so-positive stuff out of the way.
Looks like these will be the only 'pears' I get this year -
two tiny quince.
Being me, I have tried to look into possible causes of the problem and have read that plums need to be pruned in the summer, after fruiting, in order to encourage fruiting wood for next year. I didn't prune them last year. They are also better off in a south or west facing location, mine are east facing which won't help. If I remember right, the trees are grown on a semi-dwarfing rootstock so shouldn't get taller than 15 ft. Given the size of them now, I'm not convinced that's strictly correct. In any case they could do with having the crowns opened up so, in July, after I've finished college, the loppers are coming out.
The pear trees also have no fruit and need pruning but that will have to wait until they're dormant in the winter months. Good advice from the RHS here. The RHS also state that pears fruit better when grown with a different but compatible cultivar. We have two Conference pears so I might think about taking one out and replacing it. Pear trees should fruit within four years; the trees here are coming up to seven years old. I really want them to fruit because the trees are otherwise healthy with good, solid trunks. Taking one out really has to be a final option.
So no pears, no plums. But the apples are looking good. There are two Braeburn apple trees, growing too close together and leaning towards each other. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I wish I'd known how important it is to stake young trees for the first 3 years (minimum) of their lives. On the bright side, in decades to come, maybe these two will graft together and people will marvel at a single tree with two legs!
There seems to be a good number of apples left, quite a few have dropped off onto the soil - the so-called 'June drop' in May? In the past two years there were few enough fruits that I could - and did - count them. (I like to know what's happening when my back is turned!) 19 apples last year. (I got to eat two of those, and delicious they were too.) This year I reckon it will be around 40 to 50 over both trees if they all ripen. They're growing fast as well. Here's what they looked like at the beginning (7th) and end (25th) of May.
And here's yesterday's photo, taken on Friday the 13th as dusk fell under a full Honey moon:
This also happened last year but they went on to produce not only a bumper crop but a second autumn blossoming. Yes, I know. Weird. It seems there's plenty of fruit left on the tree but, looking back at last year's photos, I don't think there's as much.
|Goodness, this is a dreadful photo! I'll try and take another one to replace it. :)|
This tree needs to have the lower branches taken right back (or possibly taken off altogether) as they're arching way out from the tree and are too spindly. I've been adding plants to the area around the tree over the past couple of years; the clematis was last year's addition and I'm pleased with the way that it's spiralled up the support and is now growing around the tree. Until last week it was hidden by the suckers growing from the rootstock base of the tree. I removed those as I was pretty sure they weren't doing the tree any favours with the bonus that we can now see the clematis properly. They like to have their roots kept cool and moist and that job is being done by strawberries and Jacob's Ladder polemonium. It wasn't intentional as I hadn't realised what a prolific self-seeder Jacob's Ladder is - moving them is a job for another day and I'm grateful that they're providing a useful purpose in the garden.
Last year I was making cherry compote by the end of July, hopefully it will be the same this year and then the pruning can begin in August.