Imagine sitting in your garden next summer, enjoying the sunshine and trying to decide which freshly-picked fruit to bite into. Do you fancy a nectarine, an apricot, a plum or a delicious, juicy peach?
But hang on a moment, you’ve only got a small patio. Surely that’s a luxury reserved for the lucky few with expansive grounds and plenty of space for trees? Well, not if you’ve visited Grafters and purchased one of Brian Deacon’s Fruit Salad trees, because you can harvest all four of those fruits from a single tree, and it can even be grown in a large pot on a patio.
You can also get five different varieties of apple, sweet and sour cherries, apples and pears, green and red gooseberries and many more combinations, all on a single tree or bush. And depending on its fruits, your tree may display visibly different leaves and blossom of different colours, a talking point in itself.
The secret is in an ancient gardening skill, whereby budding shoots, called scions, are attached (or grafted, hence the company name), to the base and roots, or rootstock, of another plant.
Essentially it’s a straightforward process; you make a cut into the rootstock, a matching cut to the scion, join the two pieces together and they become one plant. It sounds easy, but the skill, and the eventual magic, is knowing which plants will marry together successfully, how to select the plants and buds, selecting varieties which will cross-pollinate and crop evenly, along with a myriad of other considerations to produce a healthy and productive plant.
Brian’s impressive skill with fruit trees is in the blood. His father, Graham, owns Deacon’s Nursery in Godshill, a mecca for Island gardeners in the know, and one of the largest mail-order suppliers of fruit trees and bushes in the UK, supplying over 350 different apple varieties alone.
One of Brian’s most interesting creations is a fruit and nut tree with damsons and almonds; all he’s got to do now is graft on a chocolate branch and we’ll all be beating a path to his door!
Grafters can be found at Watergate Road in Newport, next to the Island Pet Centre, and is open from Tuesday to Sunday. The company is in its first season of trading, with all trees and bushes available at competitive prices. As well as skill it takes time to produce healthy grafted multi-fruit trees, so some combinations are in limited supply. So if you fancy an Island-grown Fruit Salad tree, bound to become a garden (or patio) favourite, pop along soon to make sure you don’t miss out.
Call Brian on 07977 150102 for more information.