Lack of space or too much of it should never be a hindrance to gardening, be it to maximize plant productivity on little space or manicure your lawns with unique plant designs.
Espalier is an ancient form of planting, once used as a means to maximize crop yields in wintery regions of Europe. It has evolved into a modern day gardening and landscaping technique. Plants are trained to grow into a certain pattern on a wall or trellis as one pleases. Talk of art merging with the beauty that is nature!
So how does one espalier?
Depending on your objective, choose a site that works best for you. These might be a large blank wall that needs to be covered or little gardening space that needs be fully utilized or even creating a unique natural fence for your home. For wall-covering, one needs a strong frame to guide the plant into the desired design. This frame is firmly fixed onto the wall. Once the plant starts to grow, buds that sprout towards undesired directions are rubbed or pruned off leaving those that are in line with the frame. The new sprout should be bound to the frame to keep it in place as it grows and strengthens. If using a trellis, all you will need are ties to bind and guide the plant as it grows.
Regular pruning keeps your espaliered plant in the desired shape and size. For some such as an espalier fence, holding down the branches horizontally above ground may be necessary thus need for strong bounds and pegs on the ground.
There are numerous designs that one could choose from when espaliering. All you need is decide which works best for you and go for it. You can also let your mind run free with imagination of unique creative designs – it’s limitless!
For those without acres of land or even a small garden to work with, you can use container gardening coupled with trellis to achieve your own art of espaliering. Ensure that the trellises are firmly anchored in your pots or planters. Some manufacturers have designed planters with trellises to make your gardening much easier.
And remember… espaliering does take time, especially to achieve satisfactory designs. But hey! Good things come to those who wait (patiently).