Fruit trees, especially the good old British apple, are adapted to local conditions and some varieties will only thrive within a small area, that’s why it pays to buy your trees locally at Cleeve Nursery, where our experience counts.
Ever popular, the apple is the staple fruit and if you stock your garden with care you can enjoy an extended harvest from July to December. The blossom is particularly beautiful and the familiar, wide apple tree shape evocative of West Country orchards.
Apples keep well in a cool, dark, airy garage or shed, so you could be eating your own fruit for most of the year. And selecting a range of apple varieties means that, even if there is a late frost that ruins the blossom on some trees, you will still get some fruit.
Consider a trio of a cooking apple, a crisp green desert and a contrasting golden, red or russet apple.
Watch a short video on how to tell when apples are ripe and how to store them easily.
Belonging to the same plant family as the apple and very similar in cultivation, propagation and pollination, pears trees are medium sized, and can reach to up to 17m tall. They normally have a tall and elegant, narrow crown, although some are shrubby.
You can buy plum trees to suit nearly every type of garden, from trees and bushes to cordons and espaliers, which, on a south or west-facing wall, only grow to around 2m high and 3m wide. Ideal for larger gardens, bush-trained plum trees grow to up to 4m in height, or for a really large tree try half standards (up to 6m), or even standard plum trees (8m).
The choice here is sweet cherries for eating or sour cherries for cooking and making jam. The best and most famous sour cherry is the Morello, which, being a later-bloomer, is very hardy and also self-fertile. There are many varieties of sweet cherry, several of which need a partner for pollination, so be sure to ask our advice and buy two that flower at the same time.
Once again, available space will determine the size of tree that you can grow. Half standard cherry trees will reach about 5 metres high. Bush cherry trees, being short with a trunk about 1m high and a final height of about 3m, are suitable for the average garden and easy to harvest. Fan trained cherry trees, grown flat against walls or fences, are good for smaller gardens – choose the smallest tree and prune it into the desired shape for this option.
An unusual, but once highly prized fruit, medlar trees are usually grown for their ornamental value these days, which is a shame because the fruit is sweet and sharp and delicious. However, to make it edible it has to be bletted – that is kept until the skin is wrinkled and brown and the flesh is mushy.
The tree is low, twisty and spreading, with interestingly gnarled bark, and pretty white flowers in May-June. The thick, downy foliage goes through several attractive colour changes throughout the year, with stunning autumn hues of pink, red and orange, exotically striped by the green leaf-veins.
Medlars are deciduous and self- pollinating.