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Now reprinted 2018

Rivers Nursery of Sawbridgeworth: the Art of Practical Pomology by Elizabeth Waugh was first published in 2009. The book went out of print for a while, but we are delighted to tell you that it has been reprinted and is available once again. When first published, in 2009, we reviewed it on our main website under the title ‘The Rivers Nursery of Sawbridgeworth‘. There was also an article about the conservation of a remaining orchard on the site of the Nursery on this Blog: – ‘The Rescued Orchard and the Rivers Heritage’ by Paul Read. For more information on the Rivers Heritage Site and Orchard go to: www.rhso.co.uk

In brief this is a book of 200 pages illustrated with old photographs and maps. It is the story of an outstanding contributor to the history of fruit growing in Britain. A long-established family firm (1725 – 1987), the Thomas Rivers directors and the many local men and women who worked on the land and in the greenhouses developed the Conference pear and Early Rivers plum as well as apple varieties and oranges. The agricultural history of East Hertfordshire is entwined with the rise and fall of the business.

To purchase this book for £15 plus p&p, email www.rhso.co.uk

Fruit Forum

 

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My summer raspberries had one pick then just gave up. Autumn raspberries are very short (less than a metre tall), fruit is very small and hardly worth picking! All my blueberries produced fruit, which looked like a reasonable crop, then just gave up. Are others finding the same problems?

Should we be looking at more exotic plants to suit our anticipated long hot summers?

Michael Moulton

Young mulberry tree

I want to propagate some mulberry cuttings from a tree growing in a local estate. I tried cuttings in pots last March but none of them rooted. Will they graft onto any particular type of rootstock? Or should I just try cuttings in the ground during the winter?
I picked around 12lb of mulberries off one of the trees this morning, seriously messy! Tonight I will make some mulberry jam and possibly some mulberry liquor.

Adrian Baggaley.

Navaho blackberry

Picked a Navaho blackberry tonight, 50mm long by 30mm wide: this is the biggest blackberry I have ever seen.

I once had a Black Bute 2 and 3/8 inches long (60.3mm) but that was only around 5/8 of an inch (15.8mm) across.

Has anyone picked a larger blackberry?

Adrian Baggaley

Spoorwegster or Railway Star apple

Spoorwegster, meaning Railway Star, is the latest chance apple seedling to enter nursery lists. It was spotted growing alongside a railway line in Limburg, Belgium by Joseph Grouwels, who took some cuttings and grafted new trees for his garden. Grouwels brought this brilliantly colourful apple to the notice of the NBS (Nationale Boogaartenstichting). They were impressed, propagated trees and included it in the list of varieties they sell. As well as being remarkable for its colour, Spoorwegster/Railway Star apple will keep well into the New Year, even in amateur stores. Probably a seedling of the famous Belgian apple Reinette Rouge Etoilé, which it resembles, except that it lasts longer and is a more striking colour. The star-shaped ‘dots’, lenticels, which give Reinette Rouge Etoilé its name, however, are less prominent. Its taste is said to be good.

Fruit Forum

Delgollune, raised by French nurseryman George Delbard

We have just purchased a property in the Manche region of Normandy and with the property we have over 400 apple tress which produce between 8 – 10 tonnes of fruit. These trees have been looked after by a next door neighbour for many years and, even to our untrained eye, look in need of some proper care. Where could we go to learn about keeping an orchard? How can we identify our apples? Also the next door neighbour informs us that the local cooperative which used to take them now buys its apples from Spain! In the short term ie October this year (as we do not move permanently until next summer), any thoughts on what we could do with our harvest, rather than leave it to rot.

Sue and Kevin Robinson

 

There may be something of use in an article on our main web-site:  http://www.fruitforum.net/growing-apples-organically-in-normandy.htm

Morello cherry 23 April 2018 at National Fruit Collection, Kent. In flower 10 April 2017.

Here in North East Wales, no doubt due to the long chilly spring, we all have experienced in the UK, I have the peculiar anomaly this year of every early flowering fruit tree being late to flower and catching up with the later flowering trees.
 I cannot recall this unusual happening before but I have only kept accurate records from when I moved here in 2006. I’m keeping a record of what will and what won’t grow here in the Vale of Clwyd where we have a micro-climate and unusually low rainfall for North Wales.
 Things are certainly looking toward a bonus crop of fruit for me this year if the later fruit set on the peach and apricots is anything to go by.
 The hot dry weather from last week has pretty much suddenly burst everything into blossom in an overlapping cycle of events. The plums just overlapping the pears and the cherries overlapping the apples.

Right at this moment on the 27th April I have just into blossom 4 out of 6 apple trees, Charlotte first into flower on 24th April with Scrumptious, followed by Flamenco on 26th, Greensleeves is just opening its first flower buds today. The two Laxton Superb trees are just at the pink bud stage this year.
 Four pears: Beth was first with masses of blossom open on the 21st April this year, followed by Conference, Comice, and Williams’ still in flower.
 Also still in blossom 8 plum trees: Denbigh Plum, 2 Jubileum plum, Marjorie’s Seedling (also a mass of blossom this week), 2 Opal plums, Ontario plum and Victoria. The Victoria and the two Jubileum plums were first to flower this year on 18th April, closely followed by Opal and Denbigh, last was Marjorie’s Seedling on the 24th April. Cherries in flowering sequence this year were: Summer Sun, Early Rivers, 21st April, then Kordia on 23rd, Stella and Morello just starting to flower this week on 26th April.
 All three Apricots (2 Tomcot and 1 Large Early) and peach Redhaven all flowered later, in early March (under cover).

Philip Lunt