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Archive for the ‘National Fruit Collections’ Category

Beurré Hardy, Red Beurré Hardy pear painted by Elisabeth Dowle. Copyright Elisabeth Dowle.
Published in The Book of Pears by Joan Morgan (2015); Ebury Press

Elisabeth Dowle is internationally recognised as one of our leading botanic artists and now there is an opportunity to see many of her best-known works in an exhibition at Cannon Hall Museum, Barnsley, Yorkshire. The exhibition opened on 24 May 2019 and continues until 3 November 2019: http://www.cannon-hall.com/pears-and-apples-the-botanical-illustration-of-elisabeth-dowle

The Cannon Hall exhibition includes 12 of Elisabeth’s apple paintings and 15 of her paintings of pears. The exhibition is displayed in two adjoining rooms, creating intimate spaces and truly cabinets of treasures in which the paintings really sparkle. Well worth a detour if you are in Yorkshire over the summer.

Pear paintings fill the first room and there is special emphasis on the pears, as Cannon Hall has an historic collection of trained pear trees growing in a walled fruit and vegetable garden, close to the house. A number of these pear trees are very old, probably dating back to the nineteenth century, when the gardens were in their prime. The famous Cannon Hall Muscat grape was raised here and the original vine  continues to thrive in one of the glass houses.

Elisabeth has been awarded seven Royal Horticultural Society’s Gold Medals for her water colour paintings. The paintings featured in Cannon Hall exhibition were used to illustrate The Book of Pears by Joan Morgan (2015) and The Book of Apples/The New Book of Apples (1993, 2002)  by Joan Morgan and Alison Richards; published by Ebury Press. These paintings were made from pears and apples growing in the National Fruit Collection, Brogdale, Kent. Elisabeth’s work has been used to illustrate other books, featured on porcelain and calendars and are held in a number of private collections and institutions.

Fruit Forum

 

Pear trees trained against a wall at Cannon Hall

 

Cannon Hall Muscat grape fruiting at Cannon Hall

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Laxton’s Epicure apple

As we have done for a number of years, we publish the blossom records for the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, undertaken and kindly supplied by Lorinda Jewsbury. These are records for a selection of varieties (standards and any new accessions) from all the tree fruit collections at Brogdale, Kent.

18th April 2019

So far this season, the blossom in the NFC orchards has (in general) opened a couple of weeks earlier than last year. Some varieties took advantage of the mild March weather, with the plums, pears and a few of the early cherries in particular opening their blossom 6-8 days earlier than their recorded 10-year mean. However, a dip in temperatures and some pretty cold nights held the rest back and brought them more into line with their 10-year means.

The past couple of days have been much warmer here at Brogdale and the forecast for the Easter weekend is for even higher day-time temperatures. With brighter days and warmer nights, the coming weekend should see the apples and cherries really spring into action. Just this morning I noticed a handful of apples that had by-passed the 10% mark and fully opened 25% of flowers in one go. Although a few tend to do this each year, the number was quite noticeable today. Next week is likely to be a busy one for recording blossom, if the weather holds as predicted, and most of the remaining varieties should be open for business.

Lorinda Jewsbury

 

2019

PLUM

Cambridge Gage: 1st April (10% open); 4th April (full flower)

Czar: 26th March (10% open); 30th March (full flower); 16th April (90% petal fall)

Denniston’s Superb (Imperial Gage): 23rd March (10% open); 26th March (full flower); 4th April (90% petal fall)

Farleigh Damson: 29th March (10% open); 30th March (full flower); 16th April (90% petal fall)

Marjorie’s Seedling: 2nd April (10% open); 5th April (full flower); 18th April (90% petal fall)

Oullins Gage: 26th March (10% open); 29th March (full flower); 15th April (90% petal fall)

Pershore Yellow Egg: 28th March (10% open); 30th March (full flower); 12th April (90% petal fall)

Victoria: 29th March (10% open); 1st April (full flower); 10th April (90% petal fall)

 

PEAR

Concorde: 12th April (10% open); 16th April (full flower);

Conference: 12th April (10% open); 16th April (full flower);

Doyenne du Comice: 16th April (10% open); 18th April (full flower);

Louise Bonne of Jersey: 2nd April (10% open); 7th April (full flower);

 

CHERRY

Early Rivers: 7th April (10% open); 10th April (full flower);

Hertford: 8th April (10% open); 15th April (full flower);

Lapins: 7th April (10% open); 11th April (full flower);

Merchant: 17th April (10% open);

Stella: 15th April (10% open);

Sunburst: 17th April (10% open);

 

APPLE

Blenheim Orange:

Bramley’s Seedling:

Cox’s Orange Pippin:

Crawley Beauty:

Discovery:

Egremont Russet: 17th April (10% open);

Falstaff: 18th April (10% open);

Feuillemorte:

Fiesta/Red Pippin:

Gala:

James Grieve:

Jonagold: 18th April (10% open);

Meridian: 18th April (10% open);

Red Astrachan: 6th April (10% open); 10th April (full flower);

St. Edmund’s Pippin: 17th April (10% open);

Worcester Pearmain:

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Early Rivers Cherry

As we have done for a number of years, we publish the blossom records for the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, undertaken and kindly supplied by Lorinda Jewsbury. These are records for a selection of varieties (standards and any new accessions) from all the tree fruit collections at Brogdale.

20th April

The slow start to the spring weather held the blossom back this year but the mini-heatwave over the past few days has certainly got the trees up and running. The plums are a good 3 weeks later than last year and the pears are a couple of weeks behind 2017 but open blossom can now be seen in all orchards of the Collection – even a few apples have started to open.

Last year, though, was a particularly early one for the blossom and not the best year to gauge flowering times by. With the late snow and cool start to April this year, 2018 looked set to be a late one. However, it reached 25.8˚C at Brogdale yesterday and the current high temperatures have brought the blossom back on track, certainly for the cherries and pears which are more or less in line with their average flowering dates.

More high temperatures are forecast for the weekend before it cools down next week. I expect a few more apples will open over the weekend and Monday will be another busy day checking the blossom at Brogdale.

Lorinda Jewsbury

 

2018

PLUM

Cambridge Gage: 17th April (10% open); 19th April (full flower);

Czar: 16th April (10% open); 17th April (full flower);

Denniston’s Superb (Imperial Gage): 12th April (10% open); 14th April (full flower); 20th April (90% petal fall)

Farleigh Damson: 11th April (10% open); 14th April (full flower);

Marjorie’s Seedling: 17th April (10% open); 18th April (full flower);

Oullins Gage: 15th April (10% open); 17th April (full flower);

Pershore Yellow Egg: 16th April (10% open); 17th April (full flower);

Victoria: 17th April (10% open); 18th April (full flower);

 

PEAR

Concorde: 20th April (10% open);

Conference: 20th April (10% open);

Doyenne du Comice:

Louise Bonne of Jersey: 17th April (10% open); 19th April (full flower);

 

CHERRY

Early Rivers: 18th April (10% open); 19th April (full flower);

Hertford: 18th April (10% open); 20th April (full flower);

Lapins: 18th April (10% open); 19th April (full flower);

Merchant: 18th April (10% open); 20th April (full flower);

Stella: 19th April (10% open);

Sunburst: 19th April (10% open);

 

APPLE

Blenheim Orange:

Bramley’s Seedling:

Cox’s Orange Pippin:

Crawley Beauty:

Discovery:

Egremont Russet:

Falstaff:

Feuillemorte:

Fiesta/Red Pippin:

Gala:

James Grieve:

Jonagold:

Meridian:

Red Astrachan: 19th April (10% open);

St. Edmund’s Pippin:

Worcester Pearmain:

 

 

 

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Early Rivers cherry at the National Fruit Collection, Kent.

As we have done for a number of years, we publish the flowering dates for the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, Kent, undertaken and kindly supplied by Lorinda Jewsbury. These are the records for a selection of varieties (standards and any new accessions) from all the tree fruit collections at Brogdale.

An early start to the warm weather has really brought on the flowering for this year, as I’m sure you’re aware. The plums are roughly a couple of weeks earlier compared to last year. As an example, Victoria was in full bloom this year on 30th March – earlier than the 10th April noted for last year; the current 10 year mean (the average full bloom date) for Victoria is 8th April.

Although a number of the cherries in the Collection have yet to come into flower, the earlier varieties, again, have responded to the warm weather and Lapins reached full bloom on the 2nd April. It was the 23rd April last year and Lapins’ 10-year mean is 16th April.

The pear orchard is a sea of white once more as the trees have responded to the temperatures. Louise Bonne of Jersey, one of the early flowerers in the Pear Collection, was in full bloom on the 30th March. Last year saw it at full bloom on the 15th April, pretty much spot on for its average of 14th April.

The apples are just setting off and, of the early flowerers, Red Astrachan and Stark’s Earliest are already in full bloom. There is still a way to go yet with the Apple Collection and with the weather forecast to be a little cooler after the weekend there may be a fair gap this year between the early and late flowering varieties.

Lorinda Jewsbury

2017

PLUM

Cambridge Gage: 29th March (10% open); 30th March (full flower);

Czar: 20th March (10% open); 26th March (full flower);

Denniston’s Superb (Imperial Gage): 22nd March (10% open); 24th March (full flower);

Farleigh Damson: 25th March (10% open); 28th March (full flower);

Marjorie’s Seedling: 30th March (10% open); 1st April (full flower);

Oullins Gage: 28th March (10% open); 30th March (full flower);

Pershore Yellow Egg: 26th March (10% open); 28th March (full flower);

Victoria: 28th March (10% open); 30th March (full flower);

 

PEAR

Concorde: 5th April (10% open);

Conference: 2nd April (10% open); 5th April (full flower);

Doyenné du Comice: 3rd April (10% open); 5th April (full flower);

Louise Bonne of Jersey: 28th March (10% open); 30th March (full flower);

 

CHERRY

Early Rivers: 30th March (10% open); 2nd April (full flower);

Hertford: 3rd April (10% open);

Lapins: 30th March (10% open); 2nd April (full flower);

Merchant: 4th April (10% open);

Stella: 5th April (10% open);

Sunburst:

 

APPLE

Blenheim Orange:

Bramley’s Seedling:

Cox’s Orange Pippin:

Crawley Beauty:

Discovery:

Egremont Russet:

Falstaff:

Feuillemorte:

Fiesta/Red Pippin:

Gala:

James Grieve:

Jonagold:

Meridian:

Red Astrachan: 31st March (10% open); 2nd April (full flower);

St. Edmund’s Pippin:

Worcester Pearmain:

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Merryweather Damson

Merryweather Damson

As we have done for a number of years, we publish the blossom records for the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, undertaken and kindly supplied by Lorinda Jewsbury. These are records for a selection of varieties (standards and any new accessions) from all the tree fruit collections at Brogdale.

The flowering season is once more under way in the orchards at Brogdale. Many of the plums have reached full flower and the remaining varieties should not be too far behind. The warm, sunny weather a week or so back saw a good number of pears opening their blossom and some of the cherries began to follow. However, the weekend was a different story weather-wise and the chilly weather that came in has certainly put the brakes on the flowering for now. As for the effect of the chill on the open flowers and fertilisation process, we shall just have to wait and see.

Lorinda Jewsbury

 

2016

PLUM

Cambridge Gage:

Czar: 5th April (10% open); 10th April (full flower)

Denniston’s Superb (Imperial Gage): 7th April (10% open); 10th April (full flower); 20th April (90% petal fall)

Farleigh Damson: 11th April (10% open); 13th April (full flower)

Marjorie’s Seedling: 18th April (10% open); 21st April (full flower)

Oullins Gage: 11th April (10% open); 12th April (full flower)

Pershore Yellow Egg: 6th April (10% open); 8th April (full flower); 25th April (90% petal fall)

Victoria: 10th April (10% open); 14th April (full flower)

 

PEAR

Concorde:

Conference:

Doyenne du Comice:

Louise Bonne of Jersey: 12th April (10% open); 15th April (full flower)

 

CHERRY

Early Rivers: 23rd April (10% open)

Hertford:

Lapins: 20th April (10% open); 23rd April (full flower)

Merchant:

Stella:

Sunburst:

 

APPLE

Blenheim Orange:

Bramley’s Seedling:

Cox’s Orange Pippin:

Crawley Beauty:

Discovery:

Egremont Russet:

Falstaff:

Feuillemorte:

Fiesta/Red Pippin:

Gala:

James Grieve:

Jonagold:

Meridian:

Red Astrachan:

St. Edmund’s Pippin:

Worcester Pearmain:

 

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Tomorrow – Sunday 26 October – a thousand different varieties of apples will be on display in London’s Borough Market marking a millennium of trading on this site. Apples are the one food that exists in a thousand different varieties and so perfect for this historic anniversary. It all happens tomorrow when the market stages its Apple Day Festival.

The apples come from the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale in Kent where over two thousand different varieties are grown. For more information see: Borough Market

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National Fruit Collection - Apple Collection

National Fruit Collection – Apple Collection

The National Fruit Collection at Brogdale Farm in Kent is the largest collection of temperate fruit varieties growing on one site in the world. It is also the oldest fruit collection in the world, for which collecting has been on-going since 1922 – for more than 90 years.

The Collection is owned by Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and Defra funds the curation and maintenance of the Collection. The present holders of this contract are the University of Reading and FAST Ltd ((Farm Advisory Services Team), with Brogdale Collections responsible for public access to the Collection.

The tender for the Defra National Fruit Collection contract for the next five years (or longer) was published yesterday. To see the tender document visit the  Defra web-site and click on ‘view current opportunities’, then see item 10.

Fruit Forum

 

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Two lost Southern apples of the greatest historical importance in America are the Taliaferro (or Robinson) and the Gloucester White (or White Gloucester), which were planted and held in the highest esteem, respectively, by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, both for cider and for other purposes. Quite a few people in the States have looked for these apples, so far to no avail. In the case of the Taliaferro, the search is additionally hampered by conflicting descriptions.

I have found listings for both the Taliaferro apple and the Gloucester White in the Royal Horticultural Society’s list of trees in its collection at Chiswick in 1864, but these are not among the varieties now in the National Fruit Collection. From the  history of the NFC, it appears most likely that these varieties no longer exist in England. Nevertheless, it would be helpful to know more historical details, such as when and from whom they came into the collection at Chiswick, when and how they may have disappeared, whether there is a chance that anyone in England might still have them, and whether any drawings, descriptions, or other records might still exist relating in any way to these particular apples.

I would be most grateful for any assistance or suggestions that anyone would be willing to provide.

Susan Walker

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On our main web-site we have a review of ‘Orchard Archive: the National Fruit Collection’ by Joan Morgan published in Occasion Papers from The RHS Lindley Library, volume 7. Sixty years ago the Collection was established at Brogdale Farm near Faversham Kent, a Diamond Jubilee now highlighted by Tom La Dell, joint director of Brogdale Collections, the organisation responsible for public access to the Collection. The Collection is owned by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) which funds its curation and maintenance, undertaken by the University of Reading and FAST (Farm Advisory Services Team). 

The Diamond Jubilee of the National Fruit Collection is, indeed, a great landmark for the best fruit collection in the world. ‘Best’ because it is the most comprehensive across the range of temperate fruits and is international in the origins of the varieties. There are 3500 of these on the one site at Brogdale, near Faversham in Kent. Here it truly has a home as the climate and soils are suited to a wide range of fruits, modern fruit growing started nearby in early Tudor times and Kent is the main fruit growing county of Britain. The collection is unique as the apples, pears, plums, cherries, hazelnuts, grapes, quinces, currants, gooseberries, medlars, cider apples and perry pears are maintained on fruiting trees and the fruit is available to the public at Brogdale.

Joan Morgan’s article in Occasional Papers is about the origins of the National Fruit Collection. Walking in the orchards it is good to bear in mind its remarkable history led by a mixture of determined individuals with great knowledge and dedication. It is somehow a truly British story with its beginnings in the Royal Horticultural Society collection 200 years ago and the mixture of amateurs and professionals who put it all together driven by their love for fruit. All the ups and downs until it was gathered together at the National Fruit Trials at Brogdale 60 years ago are extraordinary as is the story of its purpose for correct identification of the varieties  – the English Williams’ Bon Chrétien pear became Bartlett in America and there are many more examples. Verified trees became important for breeding new varieties and the Collection is now part of the international community of The International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Joan herself is one of our contemporary pomologists (many people think she must be related to the goddess Pomona) who has brought to life the fruit in the National Fruit Collection by tasting the fruits and telling their stories. This has been possible because the origins of the collections needed fruit on the trees to identify them. Genetic conservation, in theory, does not now need this as DNA testing can verify the varieties. However, at the end of the day people who buy fruit do so for the taste, texture, juiciness and seasonality, so a collection that bears fruit and that the public can try it is an important part of developing new varieties. The New Book of Apples does all this and we are waiting for Joan’s equally revealing book of pears.

Occasional Papers, published several times a year, highlights the Royal Horticultural Society’s world renowned library and is edited by its archivist, Brent Elliott, who also contributes to this volume. It is good to see in his paper how the beautiful early fruit illustrations were so important in  appreciating the qualities of fruit varieties.

Public access to the Defra owned National Fruit Collection is managed by Brogdale Collections (at no cost to Defra) and we are expanding what we offer in everything about fruit from the history of the varieties and  the way fruit was grown (mostly in gardens) to the future, the development of new varieties and why people would be wise to eat more fruit for their own health, especially in Britain.

The booklet will be available online on the RHS website and it would be great if readers put their views on Fruit Forum so that there is an even greater buzz about fruit and the National Fruit Collection in its Diamond Jubilee year. The fruit from the National Fruit Collection will be available at Brogdale all year with dozens of varieties to taste at the Festivals.

Tom La Dell

Occasional Papers from The RHS Lindley Library, volume 7, March 2012 (published May 2012); many colour, black & white illustrations; pp.72.
Copies of this volume of Occasion Papers from The RHS Lindley Library can be bought by visiting Lindley Library Wisley or Lindley Library London ( re-opens on 2 July), or by post from Lindley Library Wisley, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey GU23 6QB. Copies cost £7.50 each, (plus £1.50 p&p).

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Lapins cherry

Fruit blossom is on the move and we will follow its advance through the National Fruit Collections, Brogdale, Kent, courtesy of Mary Pennell who has kindly agreed once again to give us a weekly update, but first her overview of the past few weeks.

So far, everything seems to be at least two weeks earlier than last year and even 2 -3 days earlier than 2009.The apricots flowered during March and have now all gone over. Alfred was the earliest with its flowering starting on 13th March. Royale was the last to reach 90% petal fall on 30th March. The others obviously fell between these two dates.

Most of the ornamental Prunus are in flower now and looking very attractive.

The early plums have just started flowering and most others are at white bud. Cherries are also coming up to white bud.

Most pears are at late green cluster compared to bud burst at this time last year.
Apples are at mouse ear – green cluster compared to most only being at the bud burst stage this time last year.

The cooler weather of last week has definitely slowed things down.

Mary Pennell

The Orange Pippin web-site is  recording blossom dates for apples around the country on its Apple Tree Register.

For blossom records at the National Fruit Collections Brogdale, Kent for 2010:  see this Blog

For blossom records at the National Fruit Collections, Kent for 2009 and around the country: see this Blog

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