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Book of Pears 9781785031472

 

A long time in the making, The Book of Pears is now published. It tells the story of the pear in eight narrative chapters and contains a Directory to around 500 varieties of pear. Following the pear’s journey across continents and cultures, the chapters trace its history, the gradual emergence of its luscious textures, exotic perfumes and increasing status to that of a highly prized fresh fruit. ‘Gold to the apple’s silver, it used to be said. The pear’s role as a market fruit and international commodity forms part of the story and also the use of other pear varieties for cooking and making into the drink perry. Water colour paintings of pears by Elisabeth Dowle illustrate the chapters, plus many period images. In the Directory, which forms the second half of the book, each variety entry contains tasting notes, an account of its origin and history, a full fruit description for the purposes of identification and details helpful to its cultivation. The Directory is based on the Pear Collection in National Fruit Collection at Brogdale in Kent, UK.

The Book of Pears has a companion website, which is now also launched: http://www.thebookofpears.fruitforum.net

The website complements the book and Elisabeth’s paintings by providing photographs of almost every one of the varieties described in its Directory; impossible to include in the book itself. Together with the book, this gallery of photographs can be used to put a picture to a name and help put a name to an unknown pear. All the varieties shown on the website were photographed and grow in the National Fruit Collection (except where noted).

I hope that the book and the website will prove enjoyable and useful and that they will work well together.

Joan Morgan

The Book of Pears is published as a hard back and ebook by Ebury Press in association with the Royal Horticultural Society in the UK and by Chelsea Green in the USA. Available from bookshops, the publishers (Ebury, RHS, Chelsea Green) and Amazon.

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Class 11: Best Collection of Fruit at the RHS Autumn Show 2015 won by Adrian Baggaley

Class 11: ‘Best Collection of Fruit’ at the RHS Autumn Show 2015 won by Adrian Baggaley. Front row, left to right: Howgate Wonder, Mère de Ménage, Reverend W Wilks. Middle row left to right: Conference, Concorde, Pitmaston Duchess. Back row, left to right: Norfolk Royal Russset, Fiesta, Red Devil. The dish of Fiesta in this collection also won the E. J. White Trophy for the best single dish of fruit in the show.

For a number of years we have reported the amazing successes achieved by Adrian Baggaley at the Royal Horticultural Society fruit shows. This year he has excelled and even beaten his own records. He entered 40 classes and won 35 of them at the RHS Autumn Show on 6-7 October 2015. These included ‘Firsts’ for the ‘Best Dish of Apples’, the Best Dish of Pears’ and the  most challenging of all the ‘Best Collection of Fruit’, that is, nine perfectly matched and flawless dishes of apples and pears! To achieve this level of success, you need to be very dedicated – take a look at  Adrian’s article ‘Growing for Showing‘ on our main website.  Well done Adrian!

Fruit Forum

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King's Acre Pippin apple

King’s Acre Pippin apple

We will track the progress of fruit blossom during the coming weeks through its development in the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, near Faversham, Kent. Our guide is Lorinda Jewsbury, who is going to give us information on a number of varieties in the Collection: dates when 10% of the buds are open, the tree is in full flower and when 90% of the petals have fallen. The varieties that Lorinda records are listed below with the dates observed so far. Updates will follow as we advance through blossom time.

The year’s season held off from 2014’s early show of flowers, with the apricots, plums, cherries and pears opening their blooms a good 2-3 weeks later than last year. In mid-April we had a few unusually warm and sunny days, which really set the blooms in motion. One moment there was barely a pear tree in blossom, the next saw the orchard awash with white flowers.

For the plums, a cluster of warm days gave a boost to the flowering times, with just 1-2 days between ‘10% of blossom open’ and ‘full flower’ for a number of varieties. It also gave a boost to the bees, butterflies and numerous other insects that appeared to be enjoying the sea of open flowers in the orchard. Hopefully they will have done a good job at pollinating the flowers for us and, weather permitting, a good crop will follow.

Lorinda Jewsbury

2015

PLUM

Cambridge Gage: 15th April (10% open); 16th April (full flower)

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

Denniston’s Superb (Imperial Gage): 11th April (10% open); 14th April (full flower)

Farleigh Damson: 13th April (10% open); 15th April (full flower)

Marjorie’s Seedling: 15th April (10% open); 16th April (full flower)

Oullins Gage: 14th April (10% open); 15th April (full flower)

Pershore Yellow Egg: 14th April (10% open); 15th April (full flower)

Victoria: 13th April (10% open); 15th April (full flower)

PEAR

Concorde: 21st April (10% open)

Conference: 20th April (10% open)

Doyenne du Comice: 21st April (10% open)

Louise Bonne of Jersey: 15th April (10% open); 19th April (full flower)

CHERRY

Early Rivers: 16th April (10% open); 20th April (full flower)

Hertford: 18th April (10% open); 22nd April (full flower)

Lapins: 15th April (10% open); 18th April (full flower)

Merchant: 20th April (10% open)

Stella: 20th April (10% open)

Sunburst: 21st 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: 16th April (10% open); 21st April (full flower)

St. Edmund’s Pippin:

Worcester Pearmain:

 

See below, in first comment,  for a course on pollination 26-28 June 2015 in Cambridge UK

 

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Last autumn we bought two apples trees – Red Falstaff and James Grieve – and one pear tree – Concorde – and they have not thrived this year. All had blossom and fruit, most of which we removed because of the weight on the branches, but all three have had diseases and grown in a distorted way. The apples grew tall lanky branches and have suffered from leaf miner, losing most of their leaves early, while the pear had pear mite/midge and the leaves went curly. I know apples need to be pruned in winter, and the lanky branches need to be reduced, but we also need to be sure that all three trees make a better start next year. They are growing quite close to a fence, and there seems to be a mass of wood lice around which eat the pumpkins, but may not have anything to do with the trees. The Red Falstaff is trying valiantly and had had two bouquets of blossom this autumn as well as in the spring.

Linda Le Merle

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Codling moth damage

Codling moth damage

I have a plague of codling moths on a biblical scale. Does anyone else have the same problem?

I think the reason is that in my orchard I did not put out the pheromone traps until early July – a month or more later than usual – and this coupled with the early season has meant they were ineffective. Although in a normal year there may be only two or three male moths in each trap all season.

So where have all these moths come from, bearing in mind that there was little damage last year. During this summer the prevailing winds have been in the south east or east south east, this is very unusual; the prevailing winds are normally in the south west. My theory is they have come over from the continent on the prevailing winds.

The espalier apples have come off the worst, the fruit being more exposed, in particular Mère de Ménage and A. W. Barnes. Over half the crop has been lost already and there are still more to drop off.

The season is a strange one, which has affected the pears as well. Yet it was pretty similar to last year, in that little happened before July, a blistering July then again little happened. I noted last year that Conference and Concorde stopped growing in very early September, while normally they would keep on growing to about the end of September, especially last year as the season was very late. This year Beth, Clapp’s Favorite and Marguerite Marillat stopped growing at the very beginning of August despite watering, in fact the watering was a waste of money. Beth just sat there for a month getting nice and golden and the Clapps’ got more colorful – were they responding to just one real month of pear growing weather. July 2013 and July 2014 were only good for the sun worshippers in my opinion and very little help to gardeners.

Adrian Baggaley

Margueriete Marillat pears

Marguerite Marillat pears

Photographs kindly supplied by Adrian Baggaley

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