Tarmac Orchard

At the bottom of our driveway there's a big patch of tarmac to the side of the garage. It's about the size of two parking spaces. It's not the prettiest thing in the world and since it gets the sun for a good part of the day, it's always felt like a bit of a waste of space. But no more, oh no! The empty tarmac is rapidly being transformed into the extended home for a fruit tree obsession. The tarmac orchard houses a collection of potted fruit trees growing mainly in airpots. At last count there were three sweet and one acid cherry, a plum, and one somewhat duffed-up-looking but nonetheless leafy mirabelle. And a beach plum, for whom the jury is still out. Oh and there's that other plum tree. But that's it. Until November when two more apple trees, another pluot, another sweet cherry and two more peach trees will arrive and need somewhere to go. Fruit tree sales.

Merton Glory being trained in an airpot

The tarmac orchard's not a bad spot for growing fruit trees. Obviously, I can't plant them in the ground, but the hard-standing is nice and level which means the pots are stable and easy to drag around.

In 2012, I invested in some half-price pop up fruit cages, which have been excellent! The self-build aluminium tubing didn't get off the ground (or rather it didn't but wobbled so much that it was quickly disassembled and put back in the garage). So far (aside from one day when I left the cage unzipped) they haven't captured any blackbirds! I've seen the birds hurling themselves at the side of the cages, but to no avail! My cherries! All mine! Except for some of the split fruit that I leave on the bird table out of misplaced guilt.

In 2011, I kept the birds off three cherry trees by tying netting to trellis on the side of the garage and making a sort of lean-to net tent. The bigger potted cherry (summer sun in the background of the picture) was netted on it's own.  Both looked somewhat rustic. Or crappy. But they did succeed in keeping the blackbirds off, without accidentally trapping any.
New pop-up fruit tree cages