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Battling the Beast

This week I've been fighting the unseasonable weather caused by the"Beast from the East".

I have been trying to establish a mini-orchard in the garden using a variety of fruit trees on dwarf root stock (to keep their size down). Last year I planted a conference pear (purchased at a local garden fair) followed by an almond tree (Prunus x persicoides 'Robijn' from Victoriana Nursery).

Earlier this year I ordered two more trees, a plum (Jubilee) and apple (Red Falstaff), both from Chris Bowers. Unfortunately they had some extremely cold weather and were unable to lift the trees until last week, which meant they were delivere today right in the middle of the "Beast".

I did some checking on Google and learned that, as long as I could work the ground, it was OK to plant them. Fortunately I had prepared the holes a couple of weeks ago and only the top layer of compost was frozen (in the picture below that silvery colour really is ice!), so I was able to re-open the holes.

I planted the trees, staked them to prevent wind-damage and used the straw which they were packed in to provide a layer of mulch. I considered adding frost fleece but most articles seemed to think this was unecessary. I did actually pop a fleece jacket over the smaller tree, but it caught the wind so much that I was worried this could cause damage so removed it again. I even had to water the trees with a watering can because the water in my hosepipe had frozen!

We're expecting snow over the next two days so fingers crossed that they survive!


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