Archive for January, 2016


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.


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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


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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


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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

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