Welcome back to an A to Z of discoveries at Kiplin Hall and Gardens. As the grounds are set to reopen at the end of March we thought we’d share an outdoor feature of Kiplin with you this week. E is for espalier – an exotic sounding name for shaping the growth of fruit trees. Growing them in this way helps the tree to take advantage of the warm brick walls in the spring and summer, and makes the fruit easier to pick. Branches can be arranged in rows at easy to reach intervals.
If you look around the Kiplin estate there are many fruit trees especially in the walled garden and these all need lots of care and attention. They are looked after by Head Gardener Chris Baker and his team of volunteers.
Chris explains why the trees are grown in this way “The apricots, peaches and sweet cherries are trained in a fan shape on the south facing wall in the walled garden allowing maximum warmth to protect the flowers in spring and help the fruit ripen in summer. We do actually get ripe apricots and peaches even in North Yorkshire! Pruning the trees involves removing some of the new growth and taking out unwanted shoots growing out from the wall.”
The apple and pear trees in the walled garden are free standing in rows and are pruned using a technique called the Modified Lorette System to train them into the espalier shape to maximise the fruit produced in the smallest space and to make harvesting easier. This requires summer pruning to remove most of this year’s growth and tying the new growth into the wires to retain the shape.
Most of the fruit trees at Kiplin have been planned in the last 10 years but walking into the walled garden you’ll see the characterful gnarled bark of an ancient-looking apple tree. This is all that remains of the garden before the estate fell into disrepair. It is thought to have been planted around 1850 – 1900.
The fruit grown in the walled garden at Kiplin is used in the Tea Room to make jams, cakes, and even ice cream. As well as vegetables which are used for soups. The tea room will be offering a take away menu of soups & sandwiches, and cakes & bakes, when the grounds reopen on Monday 29th March, perfect for picnics.
During the Easter holidays, Proper Pizzas will also be on-site cooking freshly baked pizzas made to order. We look forward to welcoming visitors back to Kiplin and encourage visitors to stretch their legs and explore the 90arces Kiplin Hall and Gardens has to offer.