Espaliers command attention in the landscape. This candelabra design serves as the focal point in the author’s side garden.
My interest in espalier began when my wife, Beth, and I visited Mount Vernon. I remember being taken by the way the paths in the vegetable garden were lined with plants shaped into low hedges. As I bent down to inspect them, I discovered they were actually espaliered pear trees that bore fruit. On the two walls that bordered the garden, there were more espaliers trained into fan shapes that served as focal points. The way these trees were artfully trained made the garden seem so inviting, while also lending structure and balance to the garden’s overall design.
After returning home, I read all the books that I could find on espalier and spent long hours in the hot Tennessee sun with pruning shears in hand, trying to recreate the shapely trees that I had seen at Mount Vernon. Since then I’ve mastered many designs and even opened a nursery that specializes in espaliered trees. And through the years, I’ve learned that all it takes to create beautiful espaliers is a good plan, some judicious pruning, and a little patience.