Monday, February 8

Top fruit

Top fruit is the name given to any fruit that's grown on a tree rather than a bush. Last year was a reasonably good year for our top fruit despite the blossoming being off to a late start.

On the subject of blossom I think fruit blossom easily rivals that of many ornamental trees so if you are considering an ornamental tree for the garden don't overlook those trees that produce edible fruit.
On the plot we inherited what we call an apple hedge. It's probably 20 years old and when we took over the plot it no longer resembled a row of cordons. We have no idea of the varieties but our best guess is that the hedge is made up of Discovery, Golden Delicious and two others one of which doesn't produce much fruit. It could be that it fruits on the tips of branches and doesn't respond to our pruning method.
The hedge should maybe be cut down as the trees are riddled with canker but whist it produces so much fruit it will remain.

We have since added some new apples grafted onto a dwarf rooting stock.
These are Fiesta, Egremont Russet, Queen Cox and Bramley. The Bramley on the plot didn't produce fruit but this was made up for by a tree growing in the garden. This is a sneaky ex-cordon. It was cut back years ago but secretly regrew behind the greenhouse and is now a very productive - sort of - tree.

Most of the Bramleys were stewed and frozen as were any bruised or damaged fruits but the rest was stored and really only finished this month. The skins had become tough but nothing that peeling didn't sort out.
We have two cherry trees - Summer Sun -  one on the plot and the other  - Stella - in a pot in the garden. Both flowered well.
The one on the plot, however had the leaves stripped for the second year. We thought that some sort of caterpillar was to blame but further research revealed that wood pigeons were the culprits. They didn't stop at the stage reached in the photo below.
The tree in the pot in the garden was protected with fleece.
At least this meant that we had some cherries to enjoy. This year we will need to rig up some protection for the plot tree.
We didn't think that we would harvest any plums or greengages this year as they were very late to flower.
As a result the fruit was produced later than usual which had the added benefit of fooling the plum moth. The yellow Oullins Gage is usually the most prolific ...
 ... but last year it was Victoria that was on the top step of the podium.
Greengages were a revelation to us when we first tasted them as their refusal to change from green when ripe means that the sweetness is unexpected. It was actually this that made us plant the greengage trees after all our plums were stolen one year. We figured that the greengages wouldn't prove as tempting.

Like the plums, the pears were very late to flower.
Usually the three trees flower at slightly differing times but last year they all flowered at once giving a better crop - the pears are never as prolific as the apples although the small Red Williams was punching above it's weight. It's never really branched out. Maybe we need to cut back the long branches but we are a bit reluctant to do that.
Remember the sneaky Bramley mentioned earlier? Well we have a similarly sneaky Conference pear which followed the apple trees lead. It's fruit is on the left below. It actually produced less fruit than usual last year.
Our final top fruit in the quince. It's a really attractive tree when flowering and also has lovely large leaves.
The fruit starts off velvety like the peach and becomes smooth and turns yellow when ripe.  Until late in summer it looked as though the fruits were going to remain small and then suddenly they 'took off'. This fruit is always the last to be harvested as it needs to be left on the tree as long as we dare but before the first frosts. Quinces have a very distinctive flavour that we like but which may not be liked by everyone. (I think that I may feature this tree in my blog this year and tell you more about it).
Regular readers to the blog may wonder why the peach, apricot and nectarine growing in the greenhouse haven't been mentioned. The truth is that they have still to perform and although we have had one or two fruits from each, they haven't earned a place in this post. Maybe next year.


12 comments:

  1. Such an impressive array of fruit. I'm going to see if I can find some space for a couple of my fruit trees to go in the ground during our little change around here. x

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    1. I'm sure that they will appreciate that, Jo

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  2. I thought this post was going to be about the fruit that produced the best...hence the top fruit of 2015 :) You have some incredible producers - can't imagine harvesting 10 or 15 kilos of fruit from one tree. Apples are at the "top" of the list when it comes to our favourite fruits; I can only hope that at least one of my trees performs half as well as yours.

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    1. Those apple trees have had a good many years to practise fruiting, Margaret :-)

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  3. I did not know that top fruit is the name given to any fruit that's grown on a tree. Thank you for the information.
    What a magnificent crop!

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    1. Glad to have increased your already wise knowledge, Alain :-)

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  4. What a wonderful harvest, Quince blossom and leaves are very attractive, the fruit is hard work though. I agree with you fruit trees make an attractive addition to the garden.

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    1. The fruit is hard, Brian certainly not something to be eaten raw.

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  5. A wonderful array of fruit.. I love the blossom on our fruit trees.

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    1. There is nothing more beautiful than a fruit tree full of blossom is there Julie?

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  6. Just finishing up the last of the stored apples (with frozen blackberries in a crumble) that have survived all winter on the shelves of my plastic cold frame thanks to the generally mild weather. It looks like the rhubarb will be very early this year, it's been shooting since November, so fresh crumble supplies are on their way.

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    1. Our apples were kept in the summer house S and D. Our early rhubarb is growing well too.

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