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Create a mini orchard at home
Create a mini orchard at home

Planting half a dozen fruit trees that grow 6m tall and 5m wide is no longer possible in the average garden.

That's where innovation steps in and Manjimup's Olea Nursery - WA's only deciduous fruit-tree grower and a member of the PlantNet group - recognised this looming problem some time ago.

They set about growing trees in pots so they were available year round, then developing and introducing a new series of dwarf trees suited to modern gardens.

Luigi and Angelina 'Lina' Bazzani established Olea in 1966 and today their son, David, runs the business on a day-to-day basis and has joined forces with a network of leading fruit-tree producers across Australia to introduce new and improved forms of fruit better suited to home gardens.

Grower PlantNet, the country's leading fruit and ornamental plant marketing organisation, is introducing some incredible fruit trees perfect for the smallest gardens, recognising the fact many people don't have room for a traditional-size tree.

Here are some of the great fruit varieties now available in miniature.

LESS IS MORE
Imagine a naturally compact apple that produces big Pink Lady- type fruit from a tree that never requires pruning and only grows to 2m tall.

Pinkabelle is possibly the best small garden apple around and will grow beautifully in Perth and South West gardens. Leprechaun is a new Granny Smith-type apple that is also a naturally occurring dwarf, growing to just 2m tall.

There is an amazing collection of super-dwarf varieties available these days, providing your favourite fruit varieties in a compact tree ideal for a tiny garden or large container.

These include the so-called tropical apple varieties Anna and Dorsett Gold, which taste terrific picked and eaten fresh.

They grow and fruit well as far north as Northampton, meaning people in areas that wouldn't normally have enjoyed crops of apples can grow a great eating variety picked fresh from the tree in places apples would never have traditionally fruited.

The super-dwarf varieties include Golden Delicious, Jonathan, Lady Williams, Red Fuji, Gala, Hi Early and Sundowner. A super-dwarf is a tree grafted on a special rootstock and this provides a deep, strong root system that anchors the tree solidly to the ground, then a dwarfing interstock is grafted between the rootstock and fruit tree providing a super dwarfing habit to the top plant - delivering a premium quality fruit from a tiny tree.

The effort and energy put into producing these trees is incredible yet the trees cost very little considering the number of times they are handled, grafted and period grown. A tree will cost you $35-$40 - less than a bottle of a quality wine.

The dwarf fruit also includes some all-time favourite stone fruits such as peaches, nectarines, plums and even a self-fertile almond that only grows to 2m tall.

Peach varieties include the extremely compact super-dwarf Sunset Peach, dwarf White Gold Peach, and Golden Queen.

The super-dwarf Sunset nectarine and dwarf Royal Gem nectarine offer premium-quality fruit from compact trees.

There are three apricots - Trevatt, Bulida and Moorpark - which produce commercial-grade fruit from compact trees.

If you love plums a dwarf tree is appealing and there is a great selection. Gulf Ruby, Sunrise Gulf, Mariposa, Narrabeen, Santa Rosa and Satsuma deliver commercial- quality fruit from trees that grow to just 2m tall and yet produce 100-200 fruit over several months per season.

If you are adventurous they also have a plumcott called Spring Satin. Plumcotts are a cross between a plum and an apricot, delivering the best of both fruit in a natural cross that is truly delicious. It has the sweet skin and flesh of the apricot and the tangy sweet texture and juicy flesh of a plum.