Russian medlar

Russian Medlar has larger fruit than most varieties

At the risk of sounding crazy, last year our medlar tree gave enough fruit to make 10 jars of medlar jelly. Great. This year there are some dead medlars on the tree but there are 3 quinces. We cannot work out what is going on?

Maria Butterworth

'Best in Show', RHS Tatton Park Show July 2016; Hertford cherries

‘Best in Show’: Hertford cherries at RHS Tatton Park Show July 2016

For the first time, cherries captured the ‘Best in Show’ prize for Adrian Baggaley; he also took many other prizes at the recent Royal Horticultural Society Tatton Park Show and gained a total of 16 firsts. Congratulation Adrian!

That exhibitors managed to stage cherries at all is remarkable in a year that has been difficult for English market growers, who are experiencing a poor harvest, at least in Kent. Rain and low temperatures, with one very cold night, at blossom time gave a poor fruit set and hence a low yield.

The prize winning, large and perfectly matching Hertford cherries were grown in Nottinghamshire, not a county where market cherries are grown and where Adrian says a north easterly wind has been blowing since February. Only recently has there been some respite from its chilly effects. He grows his Hertford cherries under permanent protection in a huge ‘box’ with a polythene cover across the top and fine mesh on the sides to keep off rain and birds. This covering at blossom time, he believes, ensured his good crop of cherries. Commercial fruit growers producing cherries in covered tunnels tend to put on the covers after blossom time. In their set-up, if these are erected before the flowers appear, a sunny day can send the temperatures soaring and there is the danger that it can get too high for effective pollination.

Fruit Forum

Blossom Time: 2016

Merryweather Damson

Merryweather Damson

As we have done for a number of years, we publish the blossom records for the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, undertaken and kindly supplied by Lorinda Jewsbury. These are records for a selection of varieties (standards and any new accessions) from all the tree fruit collections at Brogdale.

The flowering season is once more under way in the orchards at Brogdale. Many of the plums have reached full flower and the remaining varieties should not be too far behind. The warm, sunny weather a week or so back saw a good number of pears opening their blossom and some of the cherries began to follow. However, the weekend was a different story weather-wise and the chilly weather that came in has certainly put the brakes on the flowering for now. As for the effect of the chill on the open flowers and fertilisation process, we shall just have to wait and see.

Lorinda Jewsbury




Cambridge Gage:

Czar: 5th April (10% open); 10th April (full flower)

Denniston’s Superb (Imperial Gage): 7th April (10% open); 10th April (full flower); 20th April (90% petal fall)

Farleigh Damson: 11th April (10% open); 13th April (full flower)

Marjorie’s Seedling: 18th April (10% open); 21st April (full flower)

Oullins Gage: 11th April (10% open); 12th April (full flower)

Pershore Yellow Egg: 6th April (10% open); 8th April (full flower); 25th April (90% petal fall)

Victoria: 10th April (10% open); 14th April (full flower)





Doyenne du Comice:

Louise Bonne of Jersey: 12th April (10% open); 15th April (full flower)



Early Rivers: 23rd April (10% open)


Lapins: 20th April (10% open); 23rd April (full flower)






Blenheim Orange:

Bramley’s Seedling:

Cox’s Orange Pippin:

Crawley Beauty:


Egremont Russet:



Fiesta/Red Pippin:


James Grieve:



Red Astrachan:

St. Edmund’s Pippin:

Worcester Pearmain:


Invicta gooseberry grafted onto Jostaberry stock on 29 January 2016; thanks to a mild winter it has grown away in the greenhouse and was tip pruned last month to induce bushy growth. 

Because of the extreme vigour of the Jostaberry, I have used it to bud-graft gooseberries on to as standards. So far I’ve managed the gooseberries Captivator and Invicta grown on as standards.
Jostaberry, like the equally vigorous Ribes aureum, will manage four or five foot stems for standards from cuttings taken in early spring and grown on through summer outside and following winter in greenhouse to bud graft in March.
It suckers far less than Ribes aureum which is usual root-stock for grafted gooseberries. Has anyone else tried this?

Phillip Lunt

Discovery applesDiscovery apple

The random thought popped into my head today that apples seem to be the most ubiquitous fruit, and that anecdotes about other fruit are always compared to apples. Pomegranates are ‘Chinese apples’, peaches are ‘Persian apples’, etc.

Just how did apples become so ubiquitous?

Walter Jones

Limelight apple growing on M27 roostock

Limelight apple growing on M27 rootstock

I read the article  – ‘Little Apples Trees – grafted on M27’ by Adrian Baggaley on your main website. I would like to know more about M27. What is this M27 and where could I buy it? I garden in Malaysia.

Mokhtar Mohammad

Picture courtesy of Adrian Baggaley

Cripp's Pink apple, Valencia orange in background

Cripp’s Pink apple with Valencia orange in the background, both growing in southern California

I would like to grow an apple tree and orange tree in Tamil Nadu, south east India. But here we do not have these two trees. I am challenging my friends and neighbours to grow these two trees in our area successfully. So please can you suggest an apple variety and orange variety. My area is hot from  March to May.


Photograph courtesy of Kevin Hauser, Kuffle Creek Nursery, California. See comment from Kevin below.