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Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Rivers’

Now reprinted 2018

Rivers Nursery of Sawbridgeworth: the Art of Practical Pomology by Elizabeth Waugh was first published in 2009. The book went out of print for a while, but we are delighted to tell you that it has been reprinted and is available once again. When first published, in 2009, we reviewed it on our main website under the title ‘The Rivers Nursery of Sawbridgeworth‘. There was also an article about the conservation of a remaining orchard on the site of the Nursery on this Blog: – ‘The Rescued Orchard and the Rivers Heritage’ by Paul Read. For more information on the Rivers Heritage Site and Orchard go to: www.rhso.co.uk

In brief this is a book of 200 pages illustrated with old photographs and maps. It is the story of an outstanding contributor to the history of fruit growing in Britain. A long-established family firm (1725 – 1987), the Thomas Rivers directors and the many local men and women who worked on the land and in the greenhouses developed the Conference pear and Early Rivers plum as well as apple varieties and oranges. The agricultural history of East Hertfordshire is entwined with the rise and fall of the business.

To purchase this book for £15 plus p&p, email www.rhso.co.uk

Fruit Forum

 

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Summer Beurré d'Arenberg

Summer Beurré d’Arenberg

 

I live in Hamburg, North Germany, and I am planting a heritage English orchard. I am looking for two varieties of pear which were bred by Thomas Rivers, but not Conference. Ideally, I would like one to eat ‘off the tree’ and one that would keep for a short while.
My soil is on the sandy side with woodland on the North and East side, but with a high water table (4 meters below ground level). In the very worst of the winters we can get below -12c. Spring arrives at a similar time to the UK Midlands and is as variable!

Bill Boulton

Thomas Rivers (1798 -1877) did not breed many pears, as far as one knows, and, indeed, it seems only one. He raised a great many more varieties of stone fruit – plums, cherries, peaches and nectarines. It was his son T. Francis Rivers (1831-1899) who raised the Conference pear and also Fertility and Beacon.

Summer Beurré d’Arenberg was probably raised by Thomas Rivers; it first fruited in 1863, a decade and more before his death. This ripens during September in southern England, so not really as early as the name suggests. A juicy, melting fleshed pear with a lively, sweet-sharp taste, it crops heavily, although this can result in rather small fruit.

For another pear from the Rivers Nursery, you will need to turn to those raised by his son. Beacon ripens during August, keeps only for a short time and crops heavily. Fertility is a September to early October pear, with melting flesh, sweet and lemony; it can be on the sharp side, but lives up to its name producing prolific crops. (For pictures see www.thebookofpears.fruitforum.net) They all flower around the same time as Conference, or just a little later, and in the mid-period of pear blossom time.

All these varieties of pear are growing and conserved in the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale in Kent. Scion wood – graft wood and bud wood – for propagating your own trees can be obtained from the National Fruit Collection: click here. This is probably the best way for you to get these pears, although they could be worked for you by a nurseryman in England and then sent on to Germany.

Joan Morgan

 

 

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