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Fee

Which apples, pears, plums?

Part of the grand plan is for a little orchard, I'd like apples, pears and plums.

Which varieties can folk recommend?

Apples, I'd like a good eater (or 3) that keeps well and a dessert that we will probably cook up and keep in the freezer as sauce/puree.

I'm clueless on pears!

Happytechie would like Victoria plums but I'm betting there's alsorts of different plums out there worth trying.
wellington womble

I’m no use, the only fruit trees I personally would bother with is a Bramley and morello cherry. However, I did recently meet a Leicestershire Apple expert who was telling me about local varieties. She particularly recommended Annie Elizabeth as a good traditional cooker. I wonder if there is anyone near you who could recommend local heritage varieties?
dpack

what soil?
what aspect?
exposed or sheltered?
how big?
general microclimate?

re style, traditional or modern?
are you planting to get a decent sized crop in a few years ( but it will be tailing off in 15 to 20 yrs and you will need to replant)?
or
willing to watch the crop get bigger over decades until it is huge ( even if you wont get much fruit in the first 4 or 5 yrs)?
a combo of those approaches is probably a good idea if you have the space.

have a look at http://rvroger.co.uk/
to get an idea of how big a question you just asked re varieties. and they only have a few of the total varieties of tree fruit.Laughing

something to considered carefully in a smallish orchard is the best flowering time to give a good chance of fruit being set. a spread of groups does require quite a few trees but choosing the right group for the location can minimise bad years

tis a bit late to start from scratch for this year but that gives you time to observe the site and microclimate to inform your choices.
Fee

Glad I asked Smile
Mistress Rose

You also need to consider what you like in an eater; crisp, tart, sweet etc. As far as pears go, again your taste has to be considered. I only really like Comice, but other people prefer Conference, which I only find good for wine making.

We have an Oolins golden gage which is a lovely plum; yellow, sweet and not too bad cropper. We have let it get out of control and are bringing it back slowly, so hoping to get a good crop again.
tahir

where are you now?

the only pear I'd recommend is Concorde, dependable and tasty.

there's literally 100s of apples, none keep very well in normal refrigeration, till Christmas maybe? ones that I like:

Red Devil: crisp, not too sweet, makes pink juice
Lord Lambourne: quite sweet but lotsd of flavour
Herefordshire Russett: great apple but doesn't really have that nutty russett flavour
Egremont Russett: loads of flavour but tough to grow
Red Windsor: lovely red apple
Epicure: not much to look at but a great apple
Discovery: best early apple, there's now a red fleshed clone which is supposed to be great
limelight: a good green apple, flavour develops in storage

plums:
highest recommendation would be an American gage called Jefferson, a regular cropper that is really delicious.

oullins is also a good gage, so is Brandy.

best early plum is Herman but a really light cropper,

Duke of York and Prince of Wales are both good red plums, loads of flavour.

Mallard is the absolute best jammer, makes a bright red flavour filled jam, bit sharp as a dessert for some

Reeves is a good one, not so plummy in flavour but really nice and refreshing

Victoria is a heavy regular cropper but not my favourite for flavour

there's loads of plums I could recommend for flavour but most are irregular croppers:

Blue Tit
Hackman
Reine Caude De Violette
Coes Golden Drop
Crimson Drop
Thames Cross
probably plenty I've forgotten.

don't get sucked into buying Medlar's, pointless blinking things. quinces have done really badly for us so all grubbed up now. mulberries worth it as a nice bushy tree, berries a bonus
Slim

I'm trying out dapple dandy pluot, but only planted a bare root last year so I can't recommend it yet!
Fee

where are you now?



We'll be in East Cheshire by the end of April/start of May, between Nantwich and Audlem.

Won't be planting the orchard for a while but doesn't so the planning!
gz

I'd second Tahir's suggestion of Concorde Pear.I grew one in Cwmcarn,up aside valley..so not ideal,but it grew and cropped well.
Jamanda

Don't forget damsons!
Mistress Rose

Tahir mentioned quince. We have one that is brilliant. It tends to give a heavy crop every other year, but it rather depends on whether we have a late frost when the flowers are out, or very cold burning winds. I use it as poached quince, quince jelly, which is amazing, quince wine and quince brandy. All really lovely.
Fee

There was an old quince growing in the scrub across from our old house, I don't believe anyone else knew what it was, we didn't to start with either, it was a bit treacherous to pick any fruit off it but it did make delicious jelly.
wellington womble

They have one at school. It drops huge quinces all over the playground. None else knows what it is eep forgetting about it.
tahir

golden delicious probably won't do well up there but it stores well and can be richlky flavoured if its ripe at picking
Mistress Rose

Don't forget it. It is definately worth getting the fruit.
tahir

Don't forget damsons!


best flavoured one s Farleighs, but what a FAFF to pick and process, they're tiny. Its the kind of plum that's used in a lot of middle eastern/north Indian cooking. generally you dehydrate whole and then add a few to a curry or biryani.

Merryweather is much better picking/pruning wise (Farleigh's becomes an impenetrable mess) but is sweeter and less intensely flavoured.

mallard is a good plum to use instead of tomatoes in curries, the best lamb curry I've ever made was with Mallard plums
Fee

Oooh! gz

There was an old quince growing in the scrub across from our old house, I don't believe anyone else knew what it was, we didn't to start with either, it was a bit treacherous to pick any fruit off it but it did make delicious jelly.

Would taking a cutting make sense? Could always be grafted....
Nicky Colour it green

I like Keepers Nursery website, gives good info on seasons, pollination pairings, rootstock,
uses etc.
Fee

There was an old quince growing in the scrub across from our old house, I don't believe anyone else knew what it was, we didn't to start with either, it was a bit treacherous to pick any fruit off it but it did make delicious jelly.

Would taking a cutting make sense? Could always be grafted....

It would if it weren't now 180 miles away Smile
Fee

I like Keepers Nursery website, gives good info on seasons, pollination pairings, rootstock,
uses etc.

Ooh, that is good!
gz

There was an old quince growing in the scrub across from our old house, I don't believe anyone else knew what it was, we didn't to start with either, it was a bit treacherous to pick any fruit off it but it did make delicious jelly.

Would taking a cutting make sense? Could always be grafted....

It would if it weren't now 180 miles away Smile

friends near to it?
yummersetter

Its safe to windowshop the Agroforestry site now https://www.agroforestry.co.uk/product-category/plants/top-fruit as they've sold out. Its very good for making the brain spin with new fruit and nut ideas, though as they are based on the South Coast of Devon they might be more optimistic about hardiness than you need where you'll be.
Starting with the idea of growing what you can't buy properly ripened, I'd think about buying an Asian pear from them, I grew Shinseiki and it was nice, juicy and crunchy - wood was a bit brittle and I lost half the tree in a freak storm but I think we were unlucky there. You should plant Doyenne du Comice, you may only get a few fruits and then you have to get the timing perfect on ripening, but if you do, it'll be the most delicious fruit you've ever tasted.
Plums - Mirabelle de Nancy Kirkes Blue and a Japanese plum - they'll all benefit from a sunny sheltered place though.
Apples - Scrumptious, Kidds Orange Red, Orleans Reinette and Peasgood Nonsuch . . . though you have time to research what is recommended in your area.
gz

Although nurseries further South are good, I'd look for something more local or at least of similar climate.
Possibly one growing older varieties so more likely to be doing it themselves instead of,like many, just buying in.

I don't know whats near your new home, but I'm sure someone on here will Smile
Fee

...

friends near to it?

Good point, I should at least tell them it's there and what it is!!
dpack

for a fairly hardy old school variety of apple it is hard to beat tom putts , triple use variety
cookin then cookin or eating then cookin or eatin or cider as the harvest matures

they do need another group 3 type to pollinate them but the ones i know seem to be long lived ,heavy cropping and vermin resistant even when neglected

from what i recall cheshire is a bit damper and warmer than york but they should be ok.

something to consider is wind, if it is sheltered you have lots of choices, if windy especially when in leaf and you have a soft soil it might be best to go for smallish trees or even cordon grown stuff rather than big stuff
Wink

re naming favourites i have a slight problem in that most of mine are from late 19th/ early 20 th C stock and we haven’t found names for most of the best ones yet. not knowing a name is no barrier to taking grafts though Laughing
Mistress Rose

Think there is still a place you can get apple trees identified, but can't remember which of the former fruit places it was. May now be private, so may have to pay a small fee, but worth looking into. Fee

not knowing a name is no barrier to taking grafts though Laughing

True that Laughing
Behemoth

There’s probably some sort of local ‘apple group’ with access to old local varieties. Check which ones are edible though. dpack

Think there is still a place you can get apple trees identified, but can't remember which of the former fruit places it was. May now be private, so may have to pay a small fee, but worth looking into.

we know a few id experts but they are stumped with about half of the ancient varieties dotted around york Embarassed
yummersetter

Brogdale and the RHS used to do a visual iD but didn't know what our rarities were. My grandfather loved collecting roses and apples so they could be virtually unique to our local orchards.

I regularly get emails offering DNA testing for apple identification, and when it gets cheaper might submit some samples; now I know them well and know their qualities and shortfalls, the name doesn't seem so important . . I just pick the Good-for-Baked-Apple-in-September or The-One-that-Tastes-of-Strawberries-when-Ripe-Enough-but-Not-Too-Much fruits.
dpack

the little ginger russet is ace etc etc etc Laughing

that green one that is too tart unless it is picked late makes ace pies in december etc etc .

i can see quite a few unknowns getting cloned over the next few years.

the plums are even trickier than the apples to find the names of.
yummersetter

At least in Olden Days, most top fruit trees were bought from local growers (or Woolworths). In our case, we know Grandfather was loyal to the nearby Scotts Nurseries and we have their catalogues and Scotts Orchardist to help with identification.
Who would ever be able to track this decade's purchases through the dozens of online website suppliers?
dpack

Quite a few sites we have were part of hospital self sufficiency which were maintained until meds replaced activities in the 1960's ( or patients were no longer used as field slaves depending on points of view and local conditions ).

most of these hospital orchards are early 20th cent plantings selected by folk with victorian experience so it does narrow it down a bit although i recon we have only 30% named so far

some of the ecclesiastical ones have stuff that could have been repeat grafted since the OT was written Rolling Eyes
yummersetter

In that case, its likely the varieties would be from Robert Hogg's 'The Fruit Manual: A Guide to the Fruits and Fruit Trees of Great Britain' the BIble of Victorian fruit growing plus newer introductions from Laxton, Thomas Rivers dpack

thanks that could be very handy info.
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