Archive for the ‘Fruit Questions’ Category

Denbigh Plum growing in Tefnant, Vale of Clwyd, Denbighshire, Wales

I live in the Vale of Clwyd and grow the Vale of Clwyd Denbigh Plum, now officially recognised as the only Welsh plum. My question is: what relationship is the Cox’s Emperor Plum or Queen’s Crown plum to the Denbigh Plum as they apparently all originated from Denbigh in the 18th/19th century. Are they just similar or are they the same plum genetically? Is there any record at the National Fruit Collection, Brogdale of these Denbigh plums.

On a different note, I have had the problem of an enormous crop of plums this year in the Vale of Clwyd, starting with Opal, followed by Jubileum and Victoria then the Denbigh plum, all of which I donated to the annual Denbigh Plum Festival (5th October).

At peculiar odds with the huge crop from the aforementioned plums, however, my 10 year old Marjorie’s Seedling plum has a poor crop, the first plums are just about ripening this week but they are not the quantity, quality or size of last year. I think the problem was it flowered much later than other plums and during a wet spell.

The 20 year old half standard Victoria plum tree next to it had its largest crop ever, (this despite some pretty drastic thinning) of mostly superb sweet plums. My problem was in getting help to pick them and give them away. My freezer is also overfilled!

My eldest brother who lives in the Midlands informed me the annual Pershore Plum Festival had to be cancelled this year because of a failed plum harvest in the Vale of Evesham!

Philip Lunt

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Kentish Red: a cherry probably grown in Tudor times and now growing in National Fruit Collection, Brogdale, Kent

Following  training at RHS Wisley, I am now working as a kitchen gardener and am studying for my masters in garden history. After a lecturer mentioned ‘the Tudor Cherry craze’ I thought I would like to write my dissertation on this subject, I have just begun my research, so any pointers, suggestions of gardens or sources would be gratefully received. Alternatively if there is another historical fruit related topic you would like researched please feel free to suggest those too as it might turn out I can’t get enough to proceed with Tudor cherries. Many thanks, I look forward to hearing from you and hopefully contributing to the forum.

Ashleigh Davies

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Early device for peeling and coring apples.
(From The New Book of Apples by Joan Morgan and Alison Richards, Ebury Press 1993, 2002)

I’m wondering if you can help me identify some sources/potential places to start in answering a question that’s been bouncing around my mind lately.

Given that what we think of as the inedible apple “core” is actually edible, I’m wondering how/why/where/when people started eating around and discarding the apple core.

I’ve been investigating the history of the fruit as well as the kitchen tools used to process it. I’d be very interested to learn any insight you might have about where else I should be looking.

Thanks so much!

Jordana Rosenfeld

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Catillac pear, probably sold by the Perfect Nursery in Pontefract, Yorkshire

A facsimile of ‘A Catalogue of Forest-Trees, Fruit-Trees, Ever-Green and Flowering Shrubs sold by William and John Perfect, nursery-men and seedsmen, in Pontefract, Yorkshire’ dated 1777 appears in John Harvey’s book, Early Gardening Catalogues (Phillimore, 1972). There is more about the Perfects in another book by John Harvey, Early Nurserymen (Phillimore, 1974).

I am researching the history of the Perfects for a friend and hope eventually to publish an article on the Perfects’ nursery business. It goes back to at least 1706, when there is a lovely list of varieties of apples, pears and other fruit trees recommended for the Mellish’s garden at Blyth in Nottinghamshire by Noah Perfect. The business in Pontefract was run by various family members until the early 1800s.

I’d be glad to hear from anyone also researching the family

Jane Cavell

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Does anybody know, where I could get the old rootstock ‘French Paradise’ M8 (East Malling VIII), that is also mentioned in the New Book of Apples under ‘Paradise Apple’?

I’m trying to reconstruct an old 18th century orchard and would like to try this old rootstock on some trees; the orchard is in Germany.

Axel Preuss


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I’m looking for information on Aronia (chokeberry). Does anyone have information on growing, eating, different varieties? I’m on the west coast of Ireland so mild but exposed Atlantic conditions!

Nikki Keeling

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Ribston Pippin blosssom

The question I’m going to ask you is a curiosity and I’m having a hard time finding information about it; maybe I didn’t know how to search well. I clarify that I am Spanish and although the English language is not unknown to me to access certain information is not easy. I am looking for the name and as much information as possible about the apple varieties that the musician Gerald Finzi cultivated on his farm in Aldbourne, Wiltshire. It’s a historical curiosity, mixed with my interest in music and one of my first works, fruit growing. I would be very grateful if you could help me.

José María Bárcena Álvarez


The composer Gerald Finzi collected varieties of apples and other fruits, which he planted in his Wiltshire orchard. He was a member of a group of enthusiasts who set out to rescue old fruit varieties and especially apples that they remembered, but which were fast disappearing from orchards and gardens. They were active in the 1940s and 1950s and led by Philip Morton Shand, a linguist and writer on modern architecture, wine and food. Other key players were the architect [Sir] Leslie Martin and a Miss Holliday who lived in Yorkshire. Shand wrote articles, made a broadcast and organised a network of helpers all over the country. The group built up their own collections and their discoveries of ‘rare’ fruits were given to the Fruit Collection at the Royal Horticultural Society Gardens at Wisley, Surrey the forerunner of today’s National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, Kent. For more details on the Collection see: Morgan, J., ‘Orchard Archives: The National Fruit Collection’ in Occasional Papers from the RHS Lindley Library, vol 7, pp.3-30, 2012

Fruit Forum


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