Welcome back - we have been very busy here and the website has not had anything added for some time, or at least on the news front. I have been tidying up and improving a few things 'backstage'.
Blossom time is coming and it is earlier than last year. The first flower is out on the Siberian crab, I can't classify it as 50% open or even 25% yet but there are a couple of open flowers. I checked with my son whose James Grieve in Woking upset all my checks last year by opening earlier than miy James Grieve. Yes, it is doing it again! I suspect it might be the warmer, sheltered urban garden with light warm sandy soil. THis year my son has bought a George Carpenter (not yet on this website) They visited RHS Wisley in apple season testing out all the apples local to the Woking area and George Carpenter came out top on taste and was ordered from Deacons on the Isle of Wight as a Christmas present and taken back to Woking to be planted.
Blossom to come - this is Bramley's Seedling - this is what I classify as a bit more than 50/50 half open/half buds
This is not going to be a good year for apples, lack of a cold spell in the winter, poor flowering. Two of our trees have no blossom, Beauty of Kent and Tydeman's Late Orange and the Chiver's Delight is dead and has come out. We have several 'homemade' trees to replace it but Chivers was a particularly good apple. We have also lost a Pineapple Broom and a Rosemary - waterlogging I think.
The Siberian Crab (featured earlier on this news page) has finished flowering, much earlier this year as I note I took it's picture in full bloom on 5th May last year. John Downie is absolutely full out, and Arthur Turner is nearly over - as I said everything is early. We have had no frosts - down to 1 degree C in the greenhouse but I wonder how other people in less favoured spots are getting on? I am going to see a friend in Thorley next week with a fairly new orchard on heavy clay soil, I hope the very wet winter has not been too unkind.
Red Siberian Crab - flowers early (3/5/13) and is a good pollinator for groups A/B/C
A work in progress on Pollination is now on this website in answer to quite a few queries and comments (good and bad!) about my use of flowering dates, season, picking and storage. Please look at the new Menu item 'Pollination'. Almost all the apples on the website are now in a list of pollination groups/season/storage times. I hope this will be useful when making a choice. Look at 'Blossom Gallery' under 'Photo Galleries' to view apple blossom pictures and look forward to next spring. I would be really pleased for comments and suggestions so let me know how I can improve it, make it more useful and user friendly. I am also working through the individual apples in the alphabetic list and putting in the pollination groups.
The website has been busy but I am keeping up with all the emails - just
I have a lot of queries from people who would like to send me a photo of their apple so I can identify it. Photos are always interesting but there are several good reasons why it is not possible to identify an apple accurately from a photo. An educated guess but not an accurate identification. Firstly it is difficult to get a feeling of scale and size from a photo, secondly you really need to feel the apple, dry or greasy skin, ribs, smooth or bumpy (hammered), rough from russet patches etc. Then there is the aroma and of course the taste, not to mention what the inside looks like when it is cut open (section). A photo doesn't tell you any of the above. So please don't be disappointed if I can't help.
Apologies for the long gap and the fact that the promised work on pollination times and shapes has not been published as planned. It is coming. I have been in hospital and have taken longer than expected to recover. My general conclusion about flowering times is that the books are accurate in stating which apple flowers with which BUT local weather conditions do affect the gaps between flowering times. They do always flower in the same order. This was only a small study using just the apples in our one garden.
Apologies for no October news, we have been on holiday in Devon and Dorset and we hardly saw an apple. All the cider orchards were bare and picked, as is the Island cider orchard at Watergate Road. Usually when walking in the autumn we pass gardens with apples on trees but not this year.
The apple season has started in earnest and already there are queries to answer and places to visit. Some are easy, like the apple that was sold as Tydeman’s Late Orange and turned out to be Tydeman’s Early Worcester. We have both in our garden and it was a simple matter of walking up the path and checking.