Fruitful endeavours

Inspired by the urge to grow as much of our own food as possible, I bought a whopper of a fruit cage five years ago. I’m ashamed to say that all 18 x 24 feet of it has lived in the barn ever since. At the time, James and I were still in the midst of renovating our now-nearly-finished home and spending our time furnishing our garden with berries wasn’t very realistic. Consequently, we’ve been seriously lacking in the soft fruit department ever since. So, this autumn I’m determined to make amends and establish this important part of the Smallholdings plot. Not being particularly knowledgeable in this area, though, I called on an expert gardener friend of mine, Lucy Chamberlain, former editor of Grow Your Own magazine and all-round-greenfingered guru to help me plan this not-inconsiderable exciting new space. As usual, Lucy was full of excellent advice – recommending where to site each kind of plant so they get the best possible conditions in our south-east facing garden:  full sun for strawberries; shade for the blackberry and rhubarb.  

Not only this but she reeled off the best varieties to choose, recommending early-, mid- and late-cropping types that would ensure we’re provided for as long as possible. What took her a matter of minutes would have required extensive study and time on my part and I’m hugely grateful. In conclusion, we settled on the following – the cherries will be trained along wires:


10 x Honeoye

10 x Alice

10 x Symphony 

10 x Cirano


2 x Glen Moy

3 x Tulameen

2 x Leo

4 x Polka

3 x Fallgold


1 x Ben Hope

1 x Big Ben


2 x Stanza 


1 x Blue crop 

1 x Herbert


1 x Livingstone

1 x Early Champagne


1 x Reuben


1 x Lapins Cherokee

1 x Sweetheart

Trouble is, not sure I’ve a skill to offer Lucy in return, but a pub lunch is definitely in order. I’m thoroughly looking forward to getting stuck into this new, mouthwatering project when the plants arrive.  

In the meantime, James and I have our work cut out preparing the ground (above) – what better way to spend these sunny autumn days than weeding and digging over a patch of soil? 


Jeff and his ladies are enjoying various sunny spots around the garden this week
As we’re yet to test them, perhaps we’ll call on the ploughing capabilities of his vintage tractor… Happy weekend all.