Two years on, those dozens of seeds of all different varieties are now:
Five in number, three horse chestnuts and two hazels. Not quite the lush forest of edible fruit and nut trees in the making I had hope for. During the very cold and wet winter of 2010/2011, most of the seeds rotted in their pots. When I sifted through the soil, just a handful remained and had rooted, a few of which dies in early sapling-hood. So, onwards and upwards:
Most of these are collected from native stone fruits we have consumed over the summer. There are cherries and plums, plus a few European peaches and nectarines. My mum and her sister grew a peach from a peach stone as children in their south London garden. Almost forty years later we went to visit it and it was still there, in full flower. It had been known to fruit and regardless it was a beautiful tree.
We will collect a few more seeds this year on our autumn forages, some elderberries and damsons and rose hips. This year I will take more care to prepare them and plant them out at a more opportune time, following this guide. These little saplings will be planted out next year. After that, if all goes to plan, we will not be in Portsmouth, but in Norfolk. Perhaps we will be transporting a whole tray of tree seedlings with us. Perhaps we will just have two or three. Watch this space.