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Beware of Buying Mail Order!

Provided it is not too wet and the ground isnít frozen, the Winter is an ideal time to plant fruit trees, either bare root, or potted. So, with Christmas coming up I decided to treat myself to a couple of more fruit trees that I thought would go in the wide space I created between my rows of raspberries where they had been moved from. I settled on a newly available variety of hardy Fig Tree and a Quince amongst other things. The credit card transaction for my Internet purchase went through and I thought nothing more of it. In due course I had an email to say the Fig was on its way, but a week and then a month went by and it didnít turn up. I complained and eventually they said they would replace it, which incidentally as of writing this they havenít done. Then a few weeks later I received another email to say that the Quince was on its way. This time a tree turned up soon after as promised, but they had substituted a Weeping Peach tree for the Quince. Now I am not denying that as a specimen tree it will look nice in the middle of a lawn, but it will be of no use to me at all on the Allotment. You really canít train a weeping fruit tree as an espalier. And, apart from being too tall for the Allotment with its height rule, the retailers own instructions insist that you donít plant a peach near to an Almond tree, because you will get bitter Almonds that are full of Cyanide! Of course the same retailer sold me an Almond tree for my Allotment a couple of years ago!

I should have learned my lesson a few weeks earlier when the same online retailer substituted a packet of flower seeds for a special packet of Tomato seeds that I had ordered. After going back onto their website I had seen the tick box for no substitutions and simply forgotten about it when I had placed my order for the trees. Apparently some online supermarkets do the same, which to my thinking is morally wrong. If you order one type of fruit tree you really donít want another type, specially something that is totally different and not even the same fruit. It seems wrong that with their poor stock control they can simply substitute things they run out of with things that they are overstocked on. The poor customer, it seems, has no control over what they buy!

Not only is it a good time to plant trees, but you can move smaller ones now that they are dormant as well. With mom going into a nursing home the house will have to be sold to pay for her care at some point, so, I decided to save a few of my exotic fruit bushes and trees by moving them up to the Allotment before they get too big to move. There will be a lot of damage to the roots, but hopefully they will be O.K. After all it is just like buying bare root trees that have been field grown. Two of them will need to be cut down after planting because of the height rule. That will be O.K. for the special apple tree, but not for the Greengage, or pot grown Pear as they should only be pruned in the growing season, or else they are liable to get various problem infections, so they will have to be done later Ė next season.
I will also be moving my Aronia and Amelachier in an attempt to save them as they are planted in the middle of the lawn at the moment. I have never been very impressed with the berries from the Aronia, but am getting to know several people that make Jams and Preserves and that is what the berries are traditionally grown for. The same goes for my new Honey Berry fruit bush that I have also bought. It seems a different leaf to the ones I removed from the garden at home, so, hopefully it will be a different and more palatable variety. Again though, the berries are normally used to make preserves in Russia where it comes from. What else I will end up planting on my Allotment I donít know. My own private little Orchard is slowly developing!

 

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