Little Projects, Part 1,000: The Working Man’s Espalier

Along with coppice, espalier is probably one of the fanciest garden words.It just means to grow a tree (often a fruit tree) into a specific shape by training the branches along a trellis or a wall.

Also, the French word for “stair” is “escalier,” so I think one really fun thing to do if you had a garden with a multilingual pun theme would be to make an escalier espalier and grow a plant in the shape of a stair.

espalierescalier

A diagram, drawn in Microsoft Paint, of the escalier espalier of my dreams

So anyway.

I have a pear tree (I think the variety is ‘Early Gold’) in its third year which I just decided to kind of espalier. It’s growing against the garage wall (in quite a cozy little microclimate that seems to suit it quite well), and it’s quite a narrow space, so it seemed like this might help to keep it orderly.

pearbefore

But my plans to build a fancy trellis seemed way too complicated, and as so often happens, my husband and I wandered around Home Depot like lost children, looking at boards and brackets and feeling bad about ourselves.

So instead, I bought two of the hanging-basket holders that stick into the ground on long spikes, and then I attached bamboo stakes to them with zip ties:

pearafter

Ta da! It’s not an esalier espalier, but it does use zip ties, which means it’s my kind of garden project. I’m just a beginner espalier-er. I’ll probably get better.*

*No I won’t

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