Walnuts are increasingly popular and have been given a 'renaissance' in terms of planting due to the newer varieties that are faster to fruit, and generally smaller than the traditional common walnut. Walnut trees are a great choice for a tree which provides a plentiful harvest for many years, as well as growing to be a strong architectural tree which will have a real presence in your garden. Mature walnut trees have the additional feature of deeply ridged bark which adds a real sense of character and charm to the tree. Of course, the tree’s fruit is its most noteworthy feature and the nuts are encased in a hard outer shell which beings to crack when the nuts are ripe. Ensure you get to them before the squirrels do or your wonderful crop will soon disappear! Walnuts have many health benefits and can be used in baking, for pickling or simply for eating alone as a healthy snack. If you want to pickle your walnuts then pick them in mid-summer before the shell has fully formed- 'Bucanneer' is a particularly good variety for picking. Although some walnut trees are self-fertile, most require another walnut tree to be planted nearby as a pollination partner.