Espalier is an ancient way of growing fruit flat against a wall. A description really doesn’t do it justice so please google image it.

I have a two foot space along one side of my house, between the house and driveway. It use to be full of a flowering plant which I can’t remember the name of. It was over grown and took a lot of work to keep it under control so it had to go. Espalier was the perfect choice for this skinny piece of land.

 

side of house before

 

I’m not growing my espalier against a wall per se, but built a trellis to support it. And because that piece of land only gets morning sun, I planted currants and gooseberries. It will be the currants which are trained espalier – all four of them.

 

espalier wall

 

Currants normally grow in bushes, so to begin with, all the bottom shoots were pruned away, except for the main stem. They are now in their second year and as more shoots grow out from the main stem (leader), they are trained to grow horizontally along the wires. Any additional growth is also pruned away. Here’s the story so far…

 

currant espalier

 

Eventually this will create a beautiful edible wall against the house. I’m a huge fan of espalier and edible hedges. No matter how little space you have, it’s possible to grow fruit. I could have planted a fruit tree along that small space by my house, so if you don’t think you have room for one, you probably do. And espalier looks stunning.