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Archive for July, 2010

Prize winning Fruit Basket at RHS Tatton Park Show

Our man from the north, Adrian Baggaley, scooped prizes once again at the RHS Tatton Park Show and beat his own record in the number of varieties contained in a ‘Fruit Basket’, which took a first in this class.

The basket contained 25 varieties of fruits. These included: 7 varieties of sweet cherries, a morello cherry, 4 varieties of red currants, a pink and a white currant, blueberries, 5 varieties of gooseberries, blackcurrants, jostaberries, White Marseilles fig, Doyenné d’Eté pear and Rouge Tardive apricot.

The ‘Best in Show’ award went to a plate of Red Lake currants exhibited by Hilary Dodson.

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Nikolai Vavilov (1887-1943) was a Russian botanist who spent many years searching the former Soviet Union and other countries for new food crop plants, but it appears part of his collections is now in danger of disappearing under buildings.

Vavilov conceived the ground breaking and now accepted idea of centres of diversity, regions especially rich in their range of species and varieties, and from which our  food plants evolved. He developed his thesis as a result of  his extensive travels and built up large collections of seeds and living plants at the research centre where he worked in St Petersburg. Experimental stations and collections were set up throughout the USSR: for example, apples in the Caucasus and Kazakhstan, and pomegranates in Turkmenistan.

Part of the St  Petersburg  institute, now known as the Vavilov Institute, is under threat from a proposed housing development, which will it seems lead to the loss of  valuable  collections of gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries and cherries. A few weeks ago the Independent newspaper published a report just before the sale of the land: read the article here. Does any reader have any more news on this?

Fruit Forum

For news on what you can do about it see the first comment below and further comments.

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Champagne, pink currant, from RHS Wisley Garden, Surrey

I have inherited some currant bushes in my garden. I believe these bushes to be white currants. When is the best time to harvest these. I think it should be pretty soon? When the currants are ripe should I expect a pinkish tinge? On one bush, the currants are already pink – possibly even red and I am wondering if perhaps I have two varieties? One pink or even red currants and the others white. I don’t really know how to tell. The ones that are already coloured probably catch more sun but I wouldn’t have thought enough to make quite that much difference. I don’t want to pick anything too early or to leave it too late. Can anyone help me please?

Judith Belcher

(This year, by early July, in general white currants are white, pink ones pink and red ones red. J.M.)

Rondom, red currant, from National Fruit Collections, Brogdale, Kent

Blanca, white currant, from National Fruit Collections, Brogdale, Kent

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I am starting an orchard project and need to get rootstock for grafting new trees. I would like to find out how to raise my own rootstock, what is the process and how to start. I thought about apples, pears and plums for now. The orchard is in southern England.

Anna Kwilecka

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Can anyone please recommend which varieties of strawberries are more tolerant of heat and drought?

Norman Bagshaw

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