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12/02/2013 at 10:06

I have a garden with high plants/trees around all the walls. However I have about 4 yards of bare South-facing wall which gets as much sun as SE England can spare.

Beneath the wall is a bed projecting forward about 1.5 feet, in which there is nothing growing but some clumps of grass. Above the wall (which is about 5ft high) are the backs of the next street of houses.

I would like to plant something beautiful there, that will extend above the wall.

From the little I know about gardening, I have gathered that a South facing wall is a good place to plant soft fruit. So I am considering putting in a nice stone fruit tree - both to decorate the view above the wall and to provide delicious fruit.

For aesthetic reasons, I would like to put a cherry tree there (a cloud of cherry blossom would look lovely in that spot), but I am slightly put off by the idea of having to net the cherries against birds (I live in London). There is a mulberry tree in the garden which long predates my arrival, and the birds seem to leave that alone (or at least, the ones that I can reach). Is the risk from birds really so high?

As a beginner armed with a few gardening books/websites, I have also gathered that fan-growing fruit has advantages: as far as netting the trees against birds, and harvesting the fruit goes. But would I be able to extend a fan-grown tree above the wall once it gets that high?

A very important consideration with a fruit tree is that it should bear fruit not too late in the season (before the second half of July, for example). As far as cherries go, I like them to have firm flesh and a distinct cherry flavour. Beyond that I'm not too fussy.


Can anyone advise me what to put in this (prime? or is it?) spot? What sort of cherry might suit here? Or would I do better putting something else there entirely? All suggestions are very welcome, and many thanks in advance for your advice. 

12/02/2013 at 12:00

I think you have done plenty of research really the next step is to take a deep breath, and plant.#You will need to enrich the soil with manure - you can buy this in bags from GC or B&Q/Homebase. While the soil i settling choose and order your fruit. Don't leave it too long as the planting bare root trees finishes in March. You need to look for a self-fertile cherry. I have just planted one called 'Stella' which I think fits your requirements. Try to buy one on a frame work (GC) so that the first training has been done.

A fan shaped cherry sounds lovely, as for birds you can buy netting orjust take a chance

12/02/2013 at 12:16

A cherry sounds good and when it gets to a decent size there should be plenty to share with the birds.   However I think the idea of training one to grow and fruit above your wall will require a stout framework to support it and I wonder if having cherries dangling visible above the wall is not an invitation to passing hands?   Also, unless you can afford to buy a largish pre-trained plant, it will take some time to get that high.

I'd grow a grape myself but that wouldn't fit with your need for an early harvest.

12/02/2013 at 15:28

Can this tree be allowed to get as large as it likes, or do you need to limit the size, maybe to preserve a view or to prevent too much shade coming from it?   

15/02/2013 at 09:24

Many thanks for all of this information.

Gardening Grandma: I don't necessarily need to limit the size but not too high would be best as it will eventually overshadow the neighbours. 

Obelixx - very good advice about wandering hands: I hadn't considered that, but since the tree will (eventually) cut a bit of the neighbour's light they ought to share in the harvest. And thanks for the grapes suggestion. I am in no ways determined to have a cherry there: am just wondering what most people would do with a large south-facing space like this.

Rose carriola - thanks also for that. Can you please tell me what the advantages of a bare-root over a pot-grown (or is it "Maiden") tree are? The supplier I spoke to about this was adamant that pot-grown trees are fine to put in, and are in no way inferior to bare-root. Is this true?

Thanks again.

15/02/2013 at 10:08

Price usually.  Pot grown are more expensive but can be planted any time of year of you make sure to prepare a decent planting hole and water it all through its first growing season.   Bare rooted have to be planted in the dormant season from leaf fall to mid winter so their roots can get established and nourish the plant on their own through the next growing season.

15/02/2013 at 21:21
You may want to take a look at chaemoneles too (flowering quince) - beautiful blossom, doesn't get too big and quince jelly is pretty tasty too!
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