On a small area, plant only what you really like to eat. If possible, get smaller growing grafted trees. For more variety they are available in citrus and apple as well as Japanese dwarf peach, dwarf mangos, custard apple, persimmons and more.

Plant evergreen, everbearing fruit hedges. These hedges look beautiful. They are ideal for privacy and wind protection. A dense hedge around your fruit tree orchard makes you feel as if you are in a room.

Now start - put a Wai-chee Lychee in the centre. Then let a path go around it. From this inner circle let your path go toward the house. On the east side you should have Lemon, Lemonade, Mandarin and Orange trees.

Don't forget to plant two Kumquat trees in big containers to be placed right and left of your entrance or verandah. One kumquat should be the old fashioned Marumi which is excellent fruit for jam or used in drinks and as a meat tenderiser. The new kumquat is from China. Its name is Meiwa. The word means, if translated - 'the one they talk about'. This small fruit is sweet and you can eat it with skin and all. Kumquats bear most of the year.

Now, let your path follow along to a dwarf Persimmon from Japan. Fuyu is the name of the two to three-metre weeping tree. It looks so pretty heavy loaded with bright orange fruit. The fruits are non-astringent. You can eat them hard like an apple.

Nearby, the African Pride Custard Apple grows only to a medium size. It's an early bearer and very sweet too.

For a Mango tree on a small block of land, I would plant a grafted Irwin or Nam-Doc-Mai in the southwest corner of the block.

In the sheltered area, you could try some of the more exciting new trees like the bushy short Abiu from the Amazon - the large bright yellow fruit is deliciously sweet with a distinct caramel flavour. In winter, the tree has a heavy load of fruit and a small crop in summer.

Nearby, the picturesque evergreen Five-Corner fruit is such a good fruit - we have the best varieties in Australia. It has very sweet, crispy, juicy fruit. The tree is covered in pink flowers, weeping branches, light green foliage and a delight for the eyes. The fruit has many uses - eat it like an apple or you can cut them in slices for an exotic fruit salad. The perfect star shape has many uses for decorations for cakes and sweets. Put into the blender - the five-corner fruit will make a delicious drink.

Now back to your fruit hedge. Plant the bushes about two metres from the fence and one and a half metres from bush to bush so they can grow together into a dense hedge. You can prune your hedge in any shape for form or let it grow naturally.

The species I suggest are the following: Jaboticabas, bearing 30-mm-diameter fruit out of the trunk of the tree. They are black, grape-like and good to eat. Our tree bears fruit six times a year.

Grumichamas, with delicious cherry fruit; Acerola Cherries, with the high vitamin C content, delicious red cherries for many months of the year. In California they are grown in plantations for the natural vitamin C tablet manufacture.

Brazilian Cherries are ideal for hedges and are very hardy also; Yellow Guavas and Red Guavas, with their shiny leaves and a more strawberry flavour; the Feijoa, one of our favourite fruit, with the extra bonus of edible flowers.

We should not forget the Rose-Apple and its beautiful tree, like a lilly pilly. The fruit is yellow, sweet, and dry. If you put a dish of rose-apples in the house they fill the house with a lovely scent. It's not the large, fluffy flower, it's the fruit which has the rose scent.

In a corner somewhere you can put some of the smaller bushes like the dwarf Peach. It's a real ornamental and in spring is like a pink cloud and only grows to 1.4 m maximum height.

Ceylon Hill Gooseberry and Cedar Bay Cherry - these are both small bushes.

The Blueberries like acid soil, just like their relative, the azalea, and a bush of large, red raspberries are an extra bonus on a hot summer day, eaten with ice cream.

In front of the house you could put a Chocolate Pudding tree and an Icecream Bean tree. These evergreen trees are very ornamental. They would be a lovely surprise for your friends and guests. The chocolate pudding tree has big round fruit filled with black-brown chocolate pudding-like pulp. It is sweet and delicious and stores for five months at minus 10 degrees C. On a hot summer day, the fruit can be softened and are ready to serve with cream or yoghurt.

The icecream bean tree is a beautiful fast-growing tree. The long pods are filled with a sweet, white cream. Served cold from the fridge they are refreshingly delightful. The icecream bean tree is a nitrogen-fixing tree. This means that it takes nitrogen from the air and puts it in the soil - so it fertilises your soil.

You can grow your Coffee bushes under the icecream bean tree and have your own home-grown iced coffee.

Love it, and God will bless you in your orchard paradise. We hope you enjoy your low maintenance hedge for life.

Franz Honnef,
Honnef's Fruit And Nut Tree Nursery, Narangba, Qld.
From Quandong magazine.

DATE: February 2000

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