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.


Tayberry:  cropping mid-summer.

I bought a very sick looking tayberry two years ago. With much tlc it produced 4 very long shoots last year, but did not flower and fruit. There are no signs of new shoots at the moment. Do I cut these old shoots down to ground level? I am a bit worried as they cannot really be called old fruited canes.

Di Willis

Tayberry during the winter, with new canes trained onto wires

Tayberry during the winter, with new canes trained onto wires.

Photographs courtesy of Adrian Baggaley; see also comment below by Adrian.

For more on the Tayberry see our main web-site: The Origin of the Tayberry by Derek Jennings, who raised this fruit and The Glorious Tayberry by Ian Harrison, a great admirer of the tayberry.


Prunus mume Benichidori

Prunus mume ‘Benichidori’

This year Prunus mume ‘Benchidori’ is in full flower now, at the beginning of January in Kent. There were even sprigs in flower for me to bring inside for a Christmas Day posy! This is extraordinary early: in 2011, for example,  it came into blossom in about mid-March.  Prunus mume is a small tree, rather tender in the UK as it flowers so early and planted as an ornamental rather than fruiting tree. Its flowers are exquisite and in this variety deep pink and intensely scented. That it has flowered so early is proof indeed that we have had an exceptionally mild winter. If any proof was needed with primroses and winter Cyclamen coum in flower. Do any of our readers have Prunus mume in flower, or other examples of such early growth?

Hundreds of cultivated varieties of Prunus mume exist in its homeland in the Far East. It is the ‘plum’ blossom of Chinese paintings and cultivated in China and Japan for centuries, where it serves as the harbinger of spring often flowering when snow is still on the ground. Prunus mume is grown for its fruit, as well as blossom, and these are an important ingredient in Chinese and Japanese cuisine – made into a sauce, an alcoholic drink and pickled, as ‘umeboshi plums’ in Japan. For a little more about ‘Prunus mume – the first fruit blossom of the year’, see this past post.

Can anyone give us more information on Prunus mume and how it is grown in China and Japan or anywhere else that it may be cultivated?

Joan Morgan


I thought these pages might be useful for your fruit-loving readers!

Strawberry Festival Calendar 2016-2017: https://www.everfest.com/food/strawberry-festivals

Hundreds of Fruit Festivals happening in 2016-2017: https://www.everfest.com/find?utf8=%E2%9C%93&location=&latitude=&longitude=&starts_on=&ends_on=&q=fruit&button=

Maddie Rish


About two years ago, I attended a local apple day at Audley End, Essex, where I purchased some estate grown pears called Soleil d’ Automne. These were medium sized, barrel shaped, bright yellow with a very slight pink flush; well named, they were just like autumn sunshine. I would like to acquire a tree to add to my orchard but, inquiries at Audley End drew a blank, National Fruit Collection, Brogdale has no mention of it, as has The Book of Pears, nor can I find a nursery offering it. Is this a local naming or has it an alternative name? Any information on sourcing would be most useful.

Keith Jones

English Grown Walnuts

Walnut trees cropping heavily in Kent; inset Broadview walnuts

Walnut trees cropping heavily in Kent this year; inset English grown Broadview walnuts.

This year has been an excellent one for walnuts with a splendid harvest of English grown walnuts.

You can find English walnuts on sale in farm shops, farmer’s markets and food festivals across south east England, as well as on-line.

Home grown walnuts are so much tastier than imported ones. They are fresher: harvested this autumn, travelling at most 50 miles from farm to market and very well worth seeking out. Walnuts are not usually sold by the variety, but the grower will be able to tell you which one you are buying. The two I found on sale last weekend were Broadview and Lara, gathered from trees planted during the 1990s and now in their stride, cropping well.

This is the time of year to look out for home grown walnuts. The two main sellers are Alexander Hunt of Potash Farm, near Sevenoaks and Edward Lade of Nut Farms, also based in Kent. Potash Farm has its own shop, on-line sales and regional outlets and can to be found at farmers’ markets across the south east: see here for a diary of venues. Nut Farms sells walnuts at Kent markets and every weekend in London at the Saturday ‘Fine Food Market’, Duke of York’s Square, off the King’s Road, Chelsea and the Sunday ‘Farmers Market’ at Alexandra Palace, Muswell Hill; see here for more information. They both also sell home grown hazel nuts and a range of products, which includes hazel nut oil and walnut oil.

Check on their websites and twitter for the markets at which you can find them and check the list of Kent Farmers Markets to be held during December in the run-up to Christmas.

English nuts will be featured on BBC Radio 4 ‘Farming Today’ next Wednesday 16 December at 5.45 am, also on Saturday 19 December at 6.30am and include an interview with Alexander Hunt.

For more walnut stories see our main website for reviews of two books, one on cooking with walnuts and the other about walnuts grown across the world: http://www.fruitforum.net/walnuts-at-home-and-abroad.htm

Fruit Forum

Around 1952 my brother and I were made welcome from London as poor kids through what was called The Country Holiday Fund at a farm near Devizes, Wiltshire, with a farmer named John. He had two sons and a wife, and they lived in a bungalow surrounded by apple trees. They had other fields of potatoes, with a large barn of chickens. If you came from the orchard bungalow and turned left onto the lane it took you past a large house on the right and on to a bog type wooded area. That’s the best I can manage in the way of a map. It was a dead end. He had an old black car, possibly a Ford. I wondered if any readers know of the family; although I expect John and his wife have now passed away. I just thought I would write and thank them. If anyone has any ideas who they were I would like to hear from you.

James Robertson

Fruit Forum will pass on any information to James.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 109 other followers