Posted: 11/01/2015 at 18:48
A ph test too would be sensible. What plants do your neighbours grow? Any hydrangeas for example? If so, are they blue or pink? any rhododendrons growing there?
if your soil is acid mushroom compost would be disastrous if you want to maintain its current ph.
As for trained fruit trees I too would opt for maidens. Especially for espaliers as you can grow them to fit your framework and, as already said, they are much cheaper.
You don't say how big your plot is, what exactly the tree is that's remaining or why you think your ground doesn't drain very well...except that parts are heavy clay. Does water collect and not run away easily?
I would spend time digging by hand, incorporating manure or compost, rather than rotovating. This is better for removing any roots remaining and you get a better understanding of your soil...how it drains, how it feels etc.
I wouldnt be in a rush either to fill your space with plants. If you have heavy soil you can choose plants to suit, thrive and look good as time goes by...season by season as you see them in garden centres. Initially considered structure.....a couple of evergreens for example.
Get your lawn in.....wouldnt dig holes though. Mixing in grit as you go is better.