How I Espaliered My Backyard Fruit Trees

Today I spent a few hours in the backyard tending to our fruit trees. Along our back retaining wall, we planted an apricot, a donut peach, and a sugar plum tree. They are a year old at this point, and I’ve been wanting to train them as an espalier.

What is an espalier?

An espalier is a plant (such as a fruit tree) that is trained to grow flat on one plane, usually against a wall, trellis, or fence instead of the usual domed tree shape. Here’s a side view of our apricot tree after we got done:

Apricot espalier

I thought I’d document step by step how I espaliered our backyard fruit trees.

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How I Built My Raised Garden Bed

Happy Easter!

Spring is in full swing, and we will be planting Annie’s tomato seedlings really soon. I spent my Easter Sunday building a couple of raised garden beds / planter boxes in our backyard. Here’s a view of the first bed after I got done:

Let me show you step by step how I built my raised garden bed.

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Blue / Butterfly Pea Flower

Annie’s extended family on her father’s side is from George Town, Penang, and every time we’ve gone to visit, we stayed with family. Usually, that meant staying with Annie’s godparents, her uncle and aunt. They are such hospitable and kind folks, and we always loved spending time with them.

Staying at their place is pretty cool because it’s in a relatively quiet neighborhood, but with quick access to some main roads if we want to go somewhere. We could be sitting at home, chatting (usually about where we want to go eat) and the next minute be on our way out for some assam laksa, char kway teow, or nasi kandar.

The neighborhood itself is very walkable. Many times I just take my camera and go wandering off in one direction, looking for neat stuff to snap. It was on one of these jaunts that I came upon a fence that was completely covered in this dense vine, bearing these incredibly blue flowers:

Blue Pea / Butterfly Pea Flower

Butterfly Blue Pea Flower

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Common Lime Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio demoleus)

Meet “Limey”, the lime-eating caterpillar:

Common Lime Swallowtail Butterfly Papilio demoleus 5th instar

We have a kaffir lime tree in a large clay pot in our carport. Kaffir lime is a wonderful ingredient in Southeast Asian cooking, particularly Thai dishes. We’ve used kaffir lime leaf in many recipes, including Stir fried Pork with Long Beans, Thai Green Curry, and Wild Salmon Cakes with Kaffir Lime and Ginger.

One day, I spotted what at first appeared to be some bird poop on one of the leaves. It actually turned out to be a caterpillar, as evidenced by the obvious circular-shaped cuts showing up on some of the leaves that this “poop” was on. Every morning, I took a look at the plant to observe the progress of the “poop”.

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My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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