Blenheim Orange

Blenheim Orange

I live in Whittington, a village near Lichfield in Staffordshire. We have run an Apple Day Market for the last 3 years on the 3rd Saturday in October. This has proved very popular and we have now planted a Community Orchard and purchased juicing kit.
This year we would like to find an Apple ID expert to come an offer the opportunity for local people to bring varieties from their gardens for identification. We may be able to pay a modest fee. Is there anyone on this forum who might be willing to do this – or who can provide a name and contact details of someone else who might. If so please reply to this or contact me via mike@wfeg.org.uk
Many thanks.

Mike Kinghan

Fruit Blossom 2014

Winter Nélis pear

Winter Nélis pear

We will track the progress of fruit blossom during the coming weeks through its development in the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, near Faversham, Kent. Our guide for a number of years – Mary Pennell – has retired and we thank her very much indeed for supplying Fruit Forum with the flowering dates for many blossom times. We are very grateful that her successor Lorinda Jewsbury has kindly agreed to continuing giving us the same information on a number of varieties in the collection: dates when 10% of the buds are open, the tree is in full flower and when 90% of the petals have fallen.

With the recent warm weather many plums, pears and cherries are in flower and some of the early apple varieties. This year, the blossom is much earlier than 2013, which was a very late year. For instance, the plum Denniston’s Superb was in full flower on 20 March 2014, whereas the date was almost a month later – 25 April in 2013. Similarly, full flower date for the pear Louise Bonne of Jersey is 29 March in 2014 and 3 May in 2013 (for further years of flowering dates see this Blog).

The varieties that Lorinda records are listed below with the dates observed so far. Updates will follow as we advance through blossom time.


Cambridge Gage: 26th March (10% open); 29th March (full flower)

Czar: 18th March (10% open); 28th March (full flower)

Denniston’s Superb (Imperial Gage): 17th March (10% open); 20th March (full flower)

Farleigh Damson: 18th March (10% open); 22nd March (full flower)

Marjorie’s Seedling: 30th March (10% open); 1st April (full flower)

Oullins Gage: 16th March (10% open); 20th March (full flower)

Pershore Yellow Egg: 26th March (10% open); 30th March (full flower)

Victoria: 25th March (10% open); 30th March (full flower)



Conference: 29th March (10% open)

Doyenne du Comice

Louise Bonne of Jersey: 25th March (10% open); 29th March (full flower)


Early Rivers


Lapins: 31st March (10% open)





Blenheim Orange

Bramley’s Seedling

Cox’s Orange Pippin

Crawley Beauty


Egremont Russet



Fiesta/Red Pippin


James Grieve



Red Astrachan: 31st March (10% open)

St. Edmund’s Pippin

Worcester Pearmain


Lorinda Jewsbury

Seedling apple tree now named Julia's Late Golden

Seedling apple tree now named Julia’s Late Golden

New varieties of fruit are named for all shorts of reasons and, for instance, after places, events and people. Charles Ross honours the head gardener who bred this handsome apple at Newbury in Berkshire. Annie Elizabeth, the long keeping culinary apple with especially beautiful deep pink blossom commemorates a nurseryman’s baby daughter who died in infancy. Now we have Julia’s Late Golden named by Mary Hember after her daughter who died far too young in her early thirties from leukaemia. The apple is a chance seedling that sprang up in a rough patch of ground at the bottom of Mary’s garden in Codford, Wiltshire and introduced by the Triscombe Nurseries of Somerset.

In September 2002 the Hember family first noticed a rather tall and slender tree growing behind a large willow. ‘Why did you plant an apple tree there’ asked Julia. But it was not planted and in Mary’s words ’it had arrived unbidden, the product of a core thrown into the shrubbery which had grown unnoticed for two or three years.’ The tree, although overshadowed by the willow, was laden with golden fruit. These proved good to eat, excellent for ‘Tart Tatin’ – as the slices of apple kept their shape when cooked – and it made a flavoursome juice.

In the following years the tree cropped heavily and regularly and it flowered late giving the blossom a good chance of escaping any late spring frosts. The fruits ripened to deep yellow, often blushed with colour, and stored well. This chance seedling had produced a multi-purpose apple with a number of points of recommendation.

Mary decided to bring the apple to wider notice and at the same time raise funds for research into leukeamia, the disease that had so cruelly taken Julia’s life away in 2003. Triscombe Nurseries agreed to propagate trees, a bundle of scion wood went off from Wiltshire to Somerset and the Nurseries introduced ‘Julia’s Late Golden’ in their 2007 catalogue. For every tree sold a donation is made to Saint Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, where Julia was treated.

Wiltshire has adopted Julia’s Late Golden as one of the county’s own indigenous apples. Wiltshire Wild Life Trust is planting it in their community orchards and it has even found a place in a royal garden. When the Queen visited Wiltshire in 2012, she was presented with a tree, which is now growing at Windsor Castle.

Fruit Forum



Myrobalan Blossom

Myrobalan, cherry plum

Myrobalan, cherry plum

I always look forward to the myrobalan blossom (cherry plum) as the herald of spring and a promise of warmer days soon to come.  However, despite the mild weather and high temperatures for this time of year, the first myrobalan blossom in local gardens this year only appeared on 26 February.  This is relatively late for us here on the North Kent coast; the earliest I have known it was in 2008, when the myrobalans opened on 28 January.

Last week the blossom was suddenly buzzing with insects (mainly honey bees, bumble bees and flies but also a solitary butterfly – small tortoiseshell?) feeding in the sunshine.

Heather Hooper

blossom 003

I am a final year student at Sheffield Hallam University. I am requiring assistance with research for my project: ‘A feasibility study of South Yorkshire’s orchards as a visitor destination’. I am looking at an inventory, which lists 207 traditional orchards in South Yorkshire; it will help immensely if I could get the name of the owners and location of the orchards due to the fact that I have surveys to give out and a few sample interviews to conduct. The inventory is part of the Natural England Commissioned Report Traditional Orchard Project in England – the creation of an inventory to support the UK Habitat Action Plan.

I plan a survey and questionnaires to gain information and any suggestions as how could I do it successfully, would be very welcome. These are:

South Yorkshire’s orchards as a visitor destination – Public Survey

 South Yorkshire’s orchards as a visitor destination – Researchers Questionnaire

South Yorkshire’s orchards as a visitor destination – Owner’s Questionnaire

 I would like to thank for any given help and information.

Daniela Fatt

I live in Battlesbridge,  Essex and in about 18 months time would like to create an orchard on a piece of land the size of a football pitch. I do not want tall trees, I would like a mixture of tree types. I need to show the Council as part of my planning application what I am going to plant and how I will plant it: hole size, soil, staking, rabbit guards, etc  and how it will be maintained.

Is there any one who could assist?

Roger Carr

Grafting Course held by Suffolk Traditional Orchard Group in 2013

Grafting Course held by Suffolk Traditional Orchard Group in 2013

If you have an ambition to create your own fruit tree, then this is the time to learn how to graft. Practical courses where you can learn to graft a scion (a cutting) from your chosen variety of an apple or pear onto a rootstock and so produce a new tree are offered by many of the regional fruit groups and societies now active all over Britain. In this way you will be able acquire your own tree of a variety that you covert in a friend’s garden or perpetuate a cherished tree that is not going to last much longer. With this skill mastered,  it is possible to expand your collection, rescue an old almost forgotten apple or pear and learn a craft that has been part of orchards and country life for millennia.

The Suffolk Traditional Orchards Group, for instance, is holding ‘Grafting  Courses’ on:
Saturday 22 February 2014 at Suffolk Wild Life Trust Foxburrow Farm; 10am to 3.30pm approx.
Address: Saddlemakers Lane, Melton, Woodbridge, IP12 1NA
Saturday 1 March 2014 Suffolk Wild Life Trust Redgrave and Lopham Fen, 10am to 3.30pm approx.
Address: Low Common Road, South Lopham, Diss, IP22 2HX

In Kent, Brogdale Collections is holding ‘Grafting Courses’ at Brogdale on:
Saturday 18 January 2014 and Saturday 25 January 2014
Adddress: Brogdale Farm, Brogdale Road, Faversham, Kent ME13 8XZ

Such fruit groups and organisations often sell the rootstooks that you need and the tools, such as grafting knives, binding tape and so on, as well make available scion wood of varieties.

It is possible to buy scion wood yourself and of most of the apple and pear varieties in the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale are available and can be obtained from FAST, the organisation responsible for maintenance of the Collection.

Fruit Forum


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