January at Norfolk School of Gardening - Planting Fruit Trees

January at Norfolk School of Gardening - Planting Fruit Trees

Now is the time for planting bare root fruit trees, and Norfolk School of Gardening is developing quite the apple orchard with their new addition.

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Happy New Year to you all! May this be a wonderful year for us all, in our gardens but also in the rest of our lives. Who would have thought a year ago that our pockets would be stuffed with face masks? Well, here’s hoping that this time next year there will only be gardening gloves and twine and in the meantime, here’s to some happy gardening, however big or small your patch may be.

Many of our plans for Christmas and New Year changed at the last minute, and we found ourselves with time on our hands and the inclination to get outside and get busy. The weather has been so mild, and even though there has been a lot of rain in the past few weeks the ground where we are is still not sodden, so we have been able to do some more lifting and dividing of perennials. We also moved a couple of shrubs which were in the wrong place. But possibly the most optimistic thing we did was to plant a tree. It is the perfect time to plant trees, and while they are dormant it is possible to buy trees (as well as soft fruit bushes, hedging, roses, and even some perennials) bare root. This is the cheapest way to buy them and getting them into the ground now will give them the chance to establish before the summer. We planted an apple tree. Not just any apple tree. It is a Hubbard’s Pearman, an eating apple first sold by George Lindley, a nurseryman in Catton back in 1796. It used to be a very popular Norfolk variety with the excellent flavour. It is a green skinned, russetted apple with an orange flush. It will make the perfect companion to the Norfolk Biffin and the Norfolk Royal Russet which we planted in the Walled Garden last December. We now have a very respectable-sized orchard, with fifteen young trees as well as the half a dozen already planted against the walls of the Walled Garden. It will be another year or two before we have much fruit but it is lovely to have some old Norfolk apple varieties alongside other better known apples, pears and plums. This tree was a gift from the Cotswold Fruit Company who helped us with the original orchard planting last year. We have plans to collaborate next year, offering a fruit tree advice and planting service. Watch out for more information!

Courses with some availability in the coming weeks:

  • Botanical Printmaking (6-week course) – 11th January
  • Basic Slab Laying – 13th January
  • Renovation Pruning – 22nd January
  • Fruit Tree Care – 2nd February
  • Border Renovation – 5th February
  • Cutting Garden – 9th February
  • Your Veg Patch – 12th February


Plant of the Week

Bright red stems emerging from snow

Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’

This is a spreading shrub which can reach 2m tall. It has stunning orange-red and yellow young shoots and oval leaves which provide good autumn colour. This is grown for the coloured stems which are brightest in winter when they are often the dramatic highlight of a planting scheme. Grow in a well-drained to moisture retentive soil in sun or partial shade and prune hard regularly for the best stem colour.

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