Stardust - self-fertile white cherry
This season we have a new white cherry called Stardust. So-called 'white' cherries are named for their white or straw-yellow flesh, and are often considered to have a better flavour than the more common dark-fleshed cherries. However the old traditional white cherries tend to have complicated pollination requirements - whereas Stardust is self-fertile, so you only need one of them.
We have also re-organised our range of black cherries. (Confusingly, whereas white cherries are named for their white flesh, black cherries are named for their black skin colour). They are popular for their very attractive appearance, and rich cherry flavours. Whilst it is usually best to include a self-fertile red cherry such as Stella or Sweetheart for pollination purposes, it is useful to know that two of the best black cherries, Penny and Kordia, will cross-pollinate each other.
Hauswetsche plum / damson
Hauswetsche is an interesting old-fashioned culinary plum from Germany. Its dry flesh makes it very useful for central European cakes and desserts. We introduced it last season on a trial basis and it has proven very popular, so we have a wider range of sizes this year.
New pear rootstock - Eline
We are trialling a new cold-hardy semi-dwarfing rootstock for pear trees and quince trees called Eline. This produces a mature tree height similar to the widely-used Quince C rootstock, but is far more cold-hardy. There is also some evidence it reduces unsightly russeting on Conference pears.
Rubinette Rosso - now available bare-root
Rubinette is arguably the best-flavoured of all apple varieties, and an ideal gift for the apple enthusiast. In response to customer requests we have switched from pot-grown to bare-root production this season. We are using the semi-vigorous MM106 rootstock, which is well-suited to this variety.
Many plant breeders are researching inter-species crosses and hybrids within the plum family. Don't worry, these are not 'genetically modified' - in fact the European plum species (Prunus domestica) is thought to have arisen as a natural hybrid of Prunus insititia (the damson and mirabelle family). We are trialling a couple of these this season:
Alongside these new mirabelle varieties we have also increased production of the old French mirabelle - Mirabelle de Nancy. It is a useful ingredient for traditional French preserves, and of course tarte aux mirabelles.
Own-root apple trees
We have a small range of own-root apple trees available for this season. These trees are 2 years old, and are propagated on their own-roots - so there is no rootstock or graft union. In theory this means the full qualities of the scion variety can shine through, without the inherent incompatibility of a rootstock.