To cultivate market-fresh produce in a compact space, train your fruit trees to spread over a wire trellis
Espalier is a traditional gardening technique used for training plants to grow against a wall or fence on a wire support, creating a living garden feature.
The practice was established centuries ago in Europe where it was used to extend the growing season of fruit trees in cold climates.
It was observed that the warmth retained in walls from the heat of the day gave the plant protection from the chill night air.
Freestanding trees can also be espaliered to a timber or wire frame without a wall behind them.
The technique involved in espalier consists of manipulating a tree or shrub into a two-dimensional shape by pruning and tying it until the plant grows to a desired size and form.
Mostly used as a space saver the many elaborate designs mean that espaliered plants can also double up as landscape art. It is a great way of cultivating fruit in a small space, as the trees are easy to prune, thin, harvest and spray.
But it is not just for trees, as a variety of shrubs and vines can be espaliered for ornamental reasons.