Apple – Viking variety – New for 2019

This variety was produced from the University of Illinois, USA apple breeding program as hybrid PRI 1033-5e later on to be called Viking.

It is a medium to large sized summer apple, with a very deep dark maroon to purple colour skin when in full sun. But in contrast the skin colour behind it is closely concealed leaves is green. Giving that high contrast of Purple and Green.

apple-viking

It is crisp, juicy and tart. It is a cooking variety with very good flavor used for apple sauce. It has also been used for cider making.

It can be stored for about a month but it can bruise easily.

apple-viking

apple-viking

apple-viking

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An early ripening Apple – Yellow Transparent, early August

An early ripening Apple – Yellow Transparent that ripens in early August.

Apple - Yellow Transparent

Apple – Yellow Transparent

In good years (like 2019) it was ripe in late July. It was thought to be a US variety, but it originated in Latvia, 1850’s, hence its cold hardiness.

There is thought that this variety is the same as White Transparent. It is regarded as an early cooker, but when jully ripe it can be eaten. But they do not store, so must be gathered and used straight away.

 

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Early ripening Apple – ‘Widows Friend’ end of July

This variety of Apple named Widows Friend, ripens very early at the end of July.

Apple - Widows Friend

Apple – Widows Friend

Apple - Widows Friend

Apple – Widows Friend

It is a small to medium sized eating apple, generally of yellowish skin, but bright red on the sunny side. When fully ripe it has soft flesh and of quite sweet flavour. It does not keep, so must be eaten straight off the tree. As its one of the earliest ripening, it tends to attract the wasps. But it is of good quality for an early apple.

Said to have been grown in Co Armagh, Ireland and also in the USA.

 

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One of the first plums to be ripe – variety GEK – 21st July 2019

The variety GEK is a very complex hybrid of Prunus cerasifera, Prunus salicina, Prunus ussuriensis, Prunus simonii. Breed in Russia in 1995 from a cross of varieties Skoroplodnaya x Otlichnica.

Considering its early ripening, it is bright yellow and of medium size and of good flavour. The tree is very healthy, with drooping branches under the load of fruit.

first plums to be ripe - variety GEK

first plums to be ripe – variety GEK

first plums to be ripe - variety GEK

first plums to be ripe – variety GEK

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Amelanchier alnifolia or Serviceberry or Juneberry ‘Smoky’

I have never tasted an Amelanchier alnifolia or Serviceberry or Juneberry. This variety called ‘Smoky’ produces lots of fruit, about the size of a large blackcurrant. These were ripe on 23rd June 2019 and considering the time of year when cherries have peaked and blackcurrants are almost ripe. They are something different.

Very juicey, some would say watery with a delicate but nicely sweet flavour. Please bare in mind that the blackbirds will still take them.

Amelanchier alnifolia or Serviceberry or Juneberry ‘Smoky’

Amelanchier alnifolia or Serviceberry or Juneberry ‘Smoky’

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Flat Donut Peach – All the rage for children to eat

The flat Donut Peach, is all the rage for children to eat. Relatively small size, and easy for children to handle. Sometimes they are called UFO or Saturn peaches. I think UFO is a trade name.

Flat Donut Saturn or UFO Peach

They are no more difficult to grow than any other Peach or Nectarine. Ours are grown in large pots and kept over winter in the greenhouse and then all fear of frosts has gone, they are put ouside.

You must cover them or put inside during the winter, until the flowers appear (normally beginning of March). This is to stop the rain drops from dropping peach leaf spores onto the buds. The spores create gnarled looking leaves that can ultimatly drop off. Or if heavily infested the whole tree can die.

But its worth the extra effort, as the taste of a fresh peach, is amazing when compared to an imported  on from the supermarket.

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Peach – Bonanza (dwarf patio)

This is one of the first peaches that has ripened, that we grow in the greenhouse in pots. Then when all fear of frost has gone, they are put outside.

Peach dwarf Bonanza

These are supposed to be more of a peachy pink colour, just starting to turn colour. But the taste of the first fresh peach, is amazingly sweet and dripping with juice.

Despite it being a dwarf variety the fruit are of decent size.

You have to keep the trees covered during the winter months, to stop the rain drops, dropping peach leave spores. Or keep them in the greenhouse, back of the garage or in a conservatory. Anything to stop the rain drops.

 

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Oak tree callussed branches

Whilst doing some gardening at a customers house. I noticed a very large common oak tree on the boundary line, always dropping branches, acorns and pigeon mess. This time something caught my eye.

oak callus

A couple of the large branches had crossed over each other, and had rubbed against each other. This must have occured 75 odd years ago when young. The rubbing had broken the bark down to the cambian layer, whilst nice warm still weather had initiated callusing and probablt the 2 branches have now joind each other.

oak callus

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The Mullein Moth Caterpillar (Cucullia verbasci)

I have never seen any of these before. In all my times in pruning and clearing Buddleja out of customers gardens, I have never encountered any of these.

Mullein moth caterpillar

Mullein moth caterpillar

Called the Mullein Moth Caterpillar (Cucullia verbasci). The name verbasci gives a clue of what it normally likes to eat, namely verbascums or mullein, followed by buddleja.

They normally inhabit the Southern county areas of England. But I suppose the global warming, and lack of severe hard winters, has it further north.

Mullein moth caterpillar

Mullein moth caterpillar

These ones were found by pure accident, whilst looking at our dwarf buddleja in our front garden. As some of the soft shoots had bent over.

I shall not go through any pest control measures, as I do not think they affect any fruit or nut trees.

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Almond and Cherry 2019 crop destroyed. Different reasons

Ok I do not grow huge numbers of Almond and Cherry trees, in comparison to a fruit farmer. But I was looking forward to a taste.

Almond and Cherry 2019 crop destroyed
Almond and Cherry 2019 crop destroyed

The Almonds were no where near ready, with another 3 to 4 months to grow. Similarly the cherries were rock hard and yellow.

I had planned to get my mesh covering out over last weekend, but the whole crop had dissappeared.

The 2 events (almond disappearance and the cherry disappearance) occured at the same time, but for different reasons.

The Almonds had the outer husks and nut shells shattered with the kernels missings. Broken bits all over the floor. The main culprit are squirrels.

The Cherries had all the outer ‘flesh’ stripped off, and the pip left lying on the floor. Unfortuneatly I had no camera at the time. When I came back most of the pips had dissapeared, with just an odd few laying with holes in the pip, with kernel missing. Culprits for the flesh would be pigeons, and blackbirds. The hole in the pip, would me mice.

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