Today’s prompt for the August Break 2014 is “something new” and these little apples fill the bill. The tree is new too. We planted it two years ago, but it’s not growing as you might imagine, as a stand-alone tree. We are growing it “espalier-style” up the trellis beside our deck.
The term “espalier” refers to the ancient art of training fruit trees to grow against a wall or flat surface. You prune and tie branches to a frame, often in decorative patterns. This method was often used in traditional walled kitchen gardens and is perfectly suited to growing fruit in the smaller garden.
We had a very tiny city garden in Ottawa before we moved and we grew our first espaliered apple tree against a brick wall in our meditation garden there.
In a temperate climate, planting next to a wall can reflect more sunlight and retain heat overnight. This seems to allow the season to be extended so that fruit has more time to mature.
It was so successful that we decided to do it again at our new house. The young Cortland tree has filled in nicely against the trellis providing not only fruit this year, but the privacy of a nice green screen for our deck.
This summer we installed two more trellises in our backyard renovation project so next year we will be adding two more espaliered fruit trees — an apple and maybe a plum.