66. The most important room

Our back garden takes shape and gets planted

28th March 2015

Today Ford and I laid a lawn. A lawn! It was a small one, but it's the first time I've enjoyed such a thing since I left my childhood home. I think this means I've finally grown up.

This was the culmination of a busy week preparing and planting the back garden. The little round lawn is in the sunniest spot in the garden, at the end of a fruitful journey. This begins with a curving path through a blackberry and apple arcade: blackberries trained over the arches, miniature bush apples reachable through the gaps between the arches. At the crossroads, you can turn right down gooseberry avenue or left towards the cherries and currants climbing the wall or, in time, the chicken house. If you go straight on, you pass through raspberry circus - 28 eight foot canes defining the edge of the inner garden, up which raspberries will be trained - and arrive at the yoga lawn, which is as wide as Ford is tall at full arm stretch. Around the lawn there are already strawberries, rhubarb, blackcurrants, a greengage, a damson and lots of herbs to come.

Ornamental flowers are not banned. Hopefully there will be an attractive collection going in the front bed next week. But obviously it's the fruit that gets priority at The Orchard. The great thing about designing a garden with fruit, other than the juicy payback, is the three-dimensionality of the planting, which makes it possible to pack so much into quite a small space.

For the true enthusiasts among you, here are the varieties already planted:

Apples: James Grieve, Katy, Lord Lambourne
Apricot Flavourcot
Blackberries: Black Butte, Obsidian, Oregon Thornless, Waldo
Blackcurrants: Ben Lomond, Ebony, Malling Jet
Cherries: Morello, Rheinische Schattenmorelle, Sunburst
Damson Shropshire Prune
Gage Reine Claude de Bavay
Gooseberries: Hinnonmaki Green, Hinnonmaki Yellow, Invicta
Plum Victoria
Raspberries: Joan C, Polka, Tulameen,
Redcurrant Red Lake
Rhubarbs: Reed's Red, Timperley, Livingstone
Strawberries: Flamenco, Alice, Delia
Whitecurrant White Grape

And still space for a lawn!


  1. Wow! Ground Force! And an impressive variety if varieties.

    I'm having a go at peaches this year. One in the greenhouse I'm going to fan train (Peregrine). The other is on ultra dwarfing rootstock and is living in a pot against the south facing wall of the house.

    Jaco is sceptical a peach will grow in the Manchester. I am optimistic as ever.

    1. I'm quite sure a peach can grow in Manchester! I'm planning to grow one up the south-facing wall inside the conservatory. However I need to build and tile the conservatory first. Let me know how you get on.

    2. Our neighbour in Northumberland grew a peach against a sheltered west-facing wall. He got excellent fruit - one year in three.

  2. But no vine?
    Mind you with 30-odd fruit bushes and trees in that tiny space I'm surprised you can even see the ground even with dwarfing rootstocks. Are you opening a brewery or a jam shop?

    1. The vines will be in the first-floor conservatory with the peach. Jam shop before brewery.