Archive for July, 2008

Joan Squire raspberry

Joan Squire raspberry

Reading Derek Jennings’ article on raspberries on the main web-site I was reminded of all his fruit breeding successes: what a wonderful achievement! When Derek retired from the Scottish Crop Research Institute in Dundee some twenty years ago I suggested that he come down and work with us in Kent; he was much too young and full of ideas to stop working and the fruit industry needed his vision. He turned his attention to autumn fruiting raspberries and strawberries – Joan Squire and Joan J raspberries are the best known and the much publicised Chelsea Pensioner strawberry is one of Derek’s seedlings.

I used to grow Joan Squire raspberry as a commercial double crop in tunnels – one in the spring, beginning in late May, and another in the autumn. For the spring crop we thinned to eight canes per metre in the winter and allowed double the number of canes for the autumn crop. Thinning the canes exposed the fruit beautifully and it also made it much easier for the pickers. The old canes were tipped in March – cutting from 3-12 ins off – back to the new growth and they threw out plenty of fruit bearing laterals. Picking could go on from late May or early June until July, when the old canes were removed, leaving the new growth for the second crop; these canes were thinned in August. Taking a spring crop delayed the autumn crop by about a month and picking began again in late September, which was very useful as it meant the fruit came into a better price bracket. Also because these canes developed later they were more vegetative, making for a better spring crop. Joan Squire was an all round winner: a lovely sized raspberry, although it becomes smaller at the end of the season.

Now retired I grow my namesake, Brice, another of Derek’s seedlings, in a greenhouse and manage to pick raspberries from early June to November! As one cane finishes fruiting then I cut it out and bring on another.

Simon Brice

To read ‘Autumn Fruiting Raspberries; keeping up with the Joans’ go to

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Oh for some rain, the fruit, the vegetables and flowers are crying out for water and all the water-butts are empty, but there is hope at last. The Met. Office has forecast heavy rain; perhaps this time we will get some.

Yes, here it comes, lots of it; this was on 9th July. The next morning my husband went to inspect the cherries and reported that they had not cracked and that Kordia has borne a large crop that is ready for picking. Two hours later we found that most of them had cracked badly; including Kordia, which is reported to be fairly resistant to cracking. What shall we do?

I decided that we should pick all the cracked ones off, so that they would not rot on the tree and infect those remaining. We picked in all 3lbs of cracked cherries, but what shall we do with all these sweet cherries? I stewed them all together, the fully ripe, the half ripe and unripe and add a teaspoonful of sugar at the end. They did not taste like Morellos, but were very nice indeed.

To think I nearly threw them away! I expect many other people have had a similar problem this year, but what did you do with them?

Elisabeth Stringer

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The Worcesterberry and the Jostaberry are often grouped together as hybrids of a gooseberry and a blackcurrant, but while this holds true for the latter botanists seem to have decided that the Worcesterberry is not a hybrid and probably a form of the North America species – Ribes divaricatum – which makes a vigorous thorny bush.

The fruits look like a small smooth skinned gooseberry, green when unripe and becoming dark red. I was recently given a punnet of really ripe Worcesterberries, which were quite acidic but with some sweetness and occasional hints of perfume, tasting like a gooseberry and not to my mind reminescent of a black currant as sometimes reported.

It would be interesting to know if Worcesterberry is popular with gardeners and if there is as much debate over its usefulness as the Jostaberry which has drawn more comments than any other post on this blog!

Joan Morgan

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I found the article on the origins of the Tayberry fascinating. Last summer I made delicious freezer jam from Tayberries. It is popular in Western Washington, and, as Derek Jennings who bred the Tayberry noted, there is a bed and breakfast named after the Tayberry in my home town of Puyallup, Washington.

We are in berry season here. Strawberries, raspberries, Marionberries, and perhaps Boysenberries, Loganberries and others if we can find them. Loganberries are passing from the scene in recent years, and Boysenberries are not easy to find in Washington State. And I continue my search for what I term the Holy Grail of berries, the nectarberry. That is an exaggeration, but Puyallup, berry farmer, the late George Richter called it his favourite. He exported raspberries to New York, London and Tokyo, and was written up in the New York Times. I have never tasted a nectarberry, but I think he wrote that its flavour is akin to the Boysenberry.

Michael Stuart Mowrer

To read the articles ‘The Origins of the Tayberry’ by Derek Jennings and ‘Glorious Tayberries’ by Ian Harrison on our main web site go to:



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When the cold wet weather of May gave way to a warm evening early in June I went to spray the fruit trees with a foliar feed. Walking through the apples I was struck by the contrast between a few trees with every leaf crimped and the trees whose leaves were in full vigour. The culprit was black aphid. I made a note of the varieties so affected and went back next morning with a hand lens to examine the trees.

On closer inspection I observed that the trees could be assigned to one of three categories: those whose every leaf was affected, those only partially affected and those – the majority – completely free of any aphids.

All the trees were on M9 and planted between 2004 – 6. They are trained as oblique cordon, espalier and dwarf pyramid.

The varieties totally affected were Fearn’s Pippin, Golden Pippin and Court Pendu Plat. Varieties only partially affected were Pitmaston Pineapple, James Grieve, Alfriston and Sturmer Pippin. Varieties completely free of aphid were Ashmead’s Kernel, Adams’s Pearmain, Forge, Pixie, Cornish Aromatic, Swaar, Pitmaston Russet Nonpareil. The aphids affected trees irrespective of the method of training.

These trees all grow on one allotment. Trees growing on other allotments were completely free of any form of aphids.

Back home with my notes I started to go through the literature beginning with the classic of its time Handbook of Insects injurious to Orchard and Bush Fruits by Eleanor A. Ormerod, 1898. There is no reference here to black aphids affecting apples; the green and rosy apple aphid are cited. This seems to set the standard of reference down to our times. The black aphid where it is mentioned is referred to as the ‘cherry aphid’.

How can this be? Why is the black aphid not cited as a problem pest in relation to apples? And why was it present in such numbers on a few varieties while those next to it and in neighbouring rows were completely free of it?

It was not until June 26th, over three weeks later, before I saw the first evidence of a green aphid – being farmed out by ants – on an Allen’s Everlasting, planted within the last year.

One intriguing note in Bonham Bazely’s Growing Tree Fruits caught my attention – ‘Aphids are sap-suckers but they prefer their diet to be slow-moving, so they often land on trees that are not thriving too well, disregarding the more vigorous trees with strong growth.’ (page 51)

Did those cold wet winds which blew from France across the Channel in May bring the black aphids with them?

Ian Harrison

Rosy apple aphids may be the culprits – see comment below by Derek Rye

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‘Cherry orchards of Kent’ is the subject trailed for Radio 4 ‘Food Programme’ for Sunday 13 July (12.32ish pm; on-air repeat Monday 14th, 4pm); otherwise ‘listen again’ via i-Player.

The ‘trail’ also said that the programme would be ‘finding out why we should all be signing up for a campaign to aid our cherries’.

Jeff Bull

To read about current cherry production in Kent go to ‘English Cherry Production’ by Don Vaughan published on our main web-site:


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A report of an olive tree fruiting in Suffolk was recently published on our main web site, but this is a youngster compared with the tree at the Chelsea Physic Garden in London, which was probably planted over 70 years ago. It has fruited from time to time and in 2006 produced a bumper crop which the Physic Garden staff cured in brine and stored in olive oil. Some lucky visitors were even able to sample home grown olives. This remarkable tree is the subject of an article in the July issue of The Garden, entitled ‘Champion Olives’ written by Mark Poswillo, head gardener at the Physic Garden, who is looking forward to a grove of olive trees and liters of oil! Are there other productive olive trees that anyone knows of in England?

Fruit Forum

For ‘Olives in Suffolk’ by Lyn Brixius see http://www.fruitforum.net/olives-in-suffolk.htm

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