SPRING is one of the most exciting times in the gardening calendar and the Pieris family, commonly called pearl bush (the panicles of flowers resembling strings of pearls) provides a special delight this time of […]
A LACK of space is no impediment to enjoying fruit from one’s own trees.
There is a range of miniature fruit trees that can be grown in tubs in the ever-so-small garden or on a balcony, providing it gets plenty of sun.
To be clear, the word “miniature” refers only to the size of the tree, not the fruit, which is full size.
These miniatures share the overall name of Trixzie and come from from Flemings Nurseries in Victoria. They are available from most garden centres.
Trixzie nectarine “Nectazee” grows to just 1.5m x 1.5m with full-size, very sweet fruit. Trixzie peach “Pixzee” is a similar size, as is Trixzie pear “Pyrvert”, with its bright-green fruit. All are self-pollinating and require only one variety.
Trixzie “Gala” and “Pink Lady” apples also grow to 2.5m x 2.5m, however they need one of each grown near each other for cross-pollination.
The cherry trees also grow to 2.5m x 2.5m and are possibly more suited to the small townhouse or courtyard garden rather than a balcony.
There is also Trixzie “Black Cherree” with dark red fruit or Trixzie “White Cherree” with sweet, white cherries.
The apples and cherries may require a small prune every year to keep the trees neat and trim. The pears, nectarines and peaches require no pruning.
“SLOW Down and Grow Something” is the intriguing title of a new book by Byron Smith and Tess Robinson (Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99).
Subtitled “The Urban Grower’s Recipe for the Good Life”, the book starts with how to establish a miniature garden and progresses on to what to grow. There is also a wonderful range of recipes listed. It’s amazing what and how much can be grown on a sunny balcony, as shown with the fruit trees listed above.
FOLLOWING my recent column about growing strawberries, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association emailed to say: “With winter well and truly underway, now is the perfect time to get your hands on some immunity boosting Vitamin C.
“But before you reach for oranges, you might want to consider grabbing a cup (125g) of fresh Queensland strawberries instead. They contain more Vitamin C, gram for gram, when compared to a Valencia orange! Strawberries contain nutrients that strengthen the skin’s protective barrier against environmental factors like UVB damage and Vitamin C, in particular, shortens the healing time of wounds and helps our bodies fight inflammation. “Dispelling a myth, strawberries do not continue to ripen after being picked, so always look for an overall rich red colour.”
GARDENING books by the internationally acclaimed garden designer and lecturer John Brookes have always been popular here and I have reviewed many over the years.
I studied garden design with Brookes in England in 1988, which led me to establish my garden design consultancy in Canberra. Brookes died recently, aged 84, leaving behind a rich legacy of garden designs and advice. His latest book covers just that with the title of “A Landscape Legacy” (Pimpernel Press), which was published a few weeks after he died.
- Plant seed potatoes.
- Hard prune deciduous Hibiscus syriacus now as they flower on the new season’s wood.
- Divide Sedum “Autumn Joy”… you may need a tomahawk to do this!
- Cut back perennial Salvias to ground level and divide.
- Check soil moisture by digging a hole. In the absence of rain it may be necessary to water as frosts draw moisture from the soil.