Our fruit trees

The orchard currently has 133 fruit and nut trees made up of 110 different varieties (including six varieties planted in the Forest School area). We have planted apples, pears, cherries, plums, greengages, damsons, quinces, cobnuts, filberts, elderberries; and a mulberry, a fig, a crab apple and a sweet chestnut. We also have four mixed native hedges with many fruit-bearing species, such as Hazel, Blackthorn, Elder, Rowan and Crab Apple. A few other native trees are dotted around the orchard as well to enhance biodiversity, such as a Wild Cherry, willows and Silver Birches. We will be planting more trees next winter…

We currently have 19 heritage Sussex apple varieties in their own section of the orchard: Alfriston, Ashdown Seedling, Blackjack, Bossom, Duck’s Bill, Egremont Russet, First and Last, Forge, Golden Pippin, Green Custard, Knobby Russet, Mannington’s Pearmain, Nanny, Saltcote Pippin, Stanmer Pippin, Sussex Mother, Sutton Sunset, Tinsley Quince and Wadhurst Pippin.

Below is a full list of all our varieties:

Alfriston (apple). SUSSEX variety. Two trees planted winter 2022/23 and 2023/24 on MM106 rootstock

Quite a sharp cooking apple that cooks to a lightly flavoured puree and is very good baked. It was raised in the late 1700s by Mr Shepherd of Uckfield and originally named Shepherd’s Pippin. It was renamed Alfriston in 1819 by Mr Booker who lived in that village when he sent one to the London Horticultural Society. It received an RHS Award of Merit in 1920 and was grown commercially until the 1930s. It is moderately vigorous and a good cropper, but only produces fruit every two years.

Ananas Reinette (apple). Planted winter 2022/23 on MM106 rootstock

This variety is of Dutch origin, first recorded in 1821, producing small fruits. As with all Reinettes it is a very decorative apple with russet freckles over a gold ground; and has crisp, juicy flesh. We chose this apple because it is said to develop a wonderful pineapple flavour as it matures. Initially though it has a sweet, perfumed fragrance and contains a sharp, sweet-tart flavour combined with citrus, pear, and honey-like nuances. It also cooks well and is great for juicing. It is moderately vigorous, an upright, free spurring tree and a good annual cropper, although may be slow to start fruiting.

Sponsored by: Nick Cobb

Angelina Burdett (plum). Two trees planted winter 2023/24 on St Julien A rootstock

This plum has deep purple fruits with yellowish green, firm, juicy flesh with a great flavour, and can be used both as a dessert plum and for cooking. it was raised at Woolston, Southampton by H Dowling around 1843 and first described in 1853. It is a vigorous, hardy tree, bearing regular good crops.

Annie Elizabeth (apple). Planted winter 2022/23 as an Espalier on MM106 rootstock

The original tree was grown by Samuel Greatorex, magistrates clerk of Avenue Road, Knighton St. Mary, Leicester, where it stood until the 1970s. There are a few different stories about how it got its name, but the most plausible would seem t be that it was named for Samuel’s daughter, who died in infancy. According to the Heritage Centre at Leicester Arts and Museums Service: “In the graveyard of the church of St Mary Magdalen in Knighton, Leicester is the grave of Annie Elizabeth Greatorex, aged one. Her father, Samuel Greatorex named a cooking apple after his daughter.” Annie Elizabeth was a big seller in Victorian times, when its exquisite ornamental maroon blossom and large fruit made it a wow in the garden or on the table, or in exhibition. The apples store well and hold their shape when cooked. Originally a seedling from Blenheim Orange, Annie Elizabeth received a first-class certificate from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1868 after being introduced by Harrison’s of Leicester, and was grown commercially until the 1930s. it grows very attractive, large, round to round-oblong fruit. Orange/red flush and red stripes over green/yellow skin with white sharp tasting flesh. It is a good cropper and keeps very well. Excellent stewing and baking apple, keeping its shape when cooked. Quite a sweet, light flavoured cooking apple requiring little added sugar.

Sponsored by: Nick Burden

Api (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

Api is a very old variety possibly originating from the ancient Forest of Api in Brittany, France. First recorded by Le Lectier in France 1628. It was first known in England in 1676 and the very small fruits are so pretty they have been used for centuries as table decorations and for paintings. The small, rounded, white-fleshed fruits keep their crisp, sweet and intense flavour until well into Spring. It has a sweet-tart, subtly nutty taste with citrus, dried fruits and mint undertones. It is a compact, upright tree and a heavy cropper, but slow to bear with a biennial tendency. The fruit grows in dense clusters and hangs well on the tree. It is known for its very attractive blossom.

Ashdown Seedling (apple). SUSSEX variety. Planted winter 2022/23 on MM106 rootstock

Grown by John Clarke who founded the orchards of the Ashdown & General Land Company, Horsted Keynes, during the 1930s. His son Rory Clarke remembers how his father grew it from the pip of a bright red McIntosh apple that he had eaten. A good apple for those who enjoy a sharp and sweet taste. Described as tangy, with sweet yielding flesh and a very pleasant, complex flavour with a hint of strawberry.

Ashmead’s Kernel (apple) Planted winter 2022/23 on MM106 rootstock

Developed from seed planted by a William Ashmead sometime around 1720 in the gardens of what later became Ashmeade House in Gloucester. It was offered for a time by Brompton Park Nursery in the late 1700s but was never commercialised. The apples are relatively small and somewhat misshapen. Mouth-puckering when first picked but, once it has aged, the yellowish flesh is crisp and firm, juicy with a good balance between sweetness and acidity and a unique flavour said to most closely resemble pear-drops. At its best when the skin is actually a bit wrinkled. Excellent for apple sauce, pies, juicing and cider. Vigorous. Bears annually, but must be thinned. Fruit sets on short spurs, in clusters. Pomiferous notes that in 2008, nuclear DNA content tests carried out at the Plant Cytometry Service in The Netherlands confirmed long-standing suspicions that this variety is triploid, providing no viable pollen to itself and other apple trees. It will likely be 3-4 years before it bears fruit and cropping can be light as pollination is difficult.

Sponsored by: Sara and Justin Huckett

Avon Cross (plum). Planted winter 2023/24 on St Julien A rootstock

This older cultivar was raised at Long Ashton Research Station, Bristol in 1920 by G.T. Spinks and introduced in 1931. The large oval plum fruits are light purple over green-gold and are ideal for dessert or cooking. They have a rich, greengage like flavour.

Beauty of Bath (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

Originated at Bailbrook, near Bath, Somerset, and was introduced by nurseryman G. Coolings of Bath in about 1864. Received a First Class Certificate from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1887. It was a major commercial crop right up until the 1930s because it was one of the earliest-ripening varieties then and was valued for its handsome fruit. It will ripen in mid-July in southern England. It is a heavy-cropper with good disease resistance. The apples are best eaten straight from the tree, as they do not keep more than a day or so. Like most early varieties it has quite a sharp flavour, but can be sweet if you catch it before it becomes over-ripe.

Beth (pear). Planted winter 2022/23 on Quince C rootstock

This compact tree produces small, yellowish pears and is an abundant cropper, fruiting earlier than most varieties. This is a sweet, dessert pear and is described as having an excellent flavour, with succulent, melt-in-the-mouth flesh. Beth holds a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit and was developed by Henry Tydeman at the East Malling Research Station. He first worked on the variety in the 1930s, crossing Beurre Superfin with Williams bon Chretien, however it was not named and made available commercially until the 1970s.

Beurre Alexandre Lucas (pear). Planted winter 2022/23 on Quince A rootstock

Raised in France in 1780, this variety was found in a wood near St Agil in central France, and introduced to the UK in about 1892 probably by Bunyard’s Nursery. This reliable dessert pear is still sought-after today for its succulent, autumn fruits and ability to store well. Relatively small in size, these have a red-flushed green skin (which takes on a golden hue as they ripen), and a sweet, buttery flesh that is said to melt in the mouth with a pleasing pear-drop flavour. The spring flowers, which are rich in pollen and nectar, put on a beautiful show while helping to support pollinators. It is a vigorous and quite hardy variety; and a moderate to heavy cropper.

Black Heart (cherry). Two trees planted winter 2023/24 on Colt rootstock

A very old variety, possibly dating back to 1667. It produces masses of white blossom in the spring, followed by cherries with black shiny skin and sweet rich and juicy dark red flesh. They are relatively large fruits, often misshapen, but highly esteemed. The variety is fairly vigorous with a spreading habit. Ripe mid-season.

Blackjack (apple). SUSSEX variety. Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

Known as early as 1818, but last recorded in 1934 when it was exhibited at an apple conference in Sussex. Blackjack has been associated with both Sussex and Surrey in the past. The dark red apples are small to large, flattened in shape and very hard initially. They are very late to ripen and can hang on the tree over the winter. The sweetness develops in December and it is a good eating apple, but when cooked earlier the rich flesh keeps its shape. A reference in Hogg reads “A culinary apple of first-rate quality; in use from November to April. The tree is a very strong and vigorous grower.”

Bloody Ploughman (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 as an Espalier

First recorded in 1883, this is a well-known Scottish apple with a gruesome backstory. It originates from the Carse of Gowrie where allegedly a ploughman was shot dead by a gamekeeper for stealing apples from the Megginch Estate. When the ploughman’s body was returned to his wife she found some of the stolen apples in his pockets and got rid of them on the compost heap. One of the seedlings that subsequently grew produced apples that were blood red in colour and the tree gave rise to the cultivar that was named after the unfortunate ploughman. The fruits are heavily ribbed, crisp and juicy and when fully ripe can darken to an almost purple colour. The flesh is often stained red which makes it a good variety for juicing and it can also be used to produce cider. It is often considered a dessert apple in Scotland, but the flavour is not particularly sweet and in England it tends to be regarded as a cooker. It makes lovely apple sauce and beautiful pink pies and crumbles. The tree is disease resistant and hardy, performing well in colder areas of the UK.

Bossom (apple). SUSSEX variety. Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

The apple is probably the variety described by Robert Hogg in 1851 and raised at Petworth House by Lord Egremont and his head gardener Mr Slade. Hogg wrote: “Fruit large and conical, handsomely and regularly formed. Skin, pale greenish yellow, considerably covered with russet and occasionally marked with bright red next the sun. Flesh yellowish white, tender, crisp, juicy and sugary with a pleasant sub-acid flavour.” It was first recorded in 1820 when it was exhibited at the London Horticultural Society. Bernwode describe it as “a rather variable fruit, sometimes good for dessert, sometimes a little too sharp, sometimes cooking to a purée, sometimes cooking very slowly and keeping its shape.” The fruit ripens in early October and can be stored until January.

Braeburn (apple). Seven trees planted winter 2022/23 on MM106 rootstock

An important commercial variety originating in New Zealand in 1952 and now accounting for 40% of New Zealand’s total apple production. It was found as a seedling and generally thought to have Lady Hamilton and Granny Smith as its parents. It was named for Braeburn Nurseries where it was first grown commercially. Braeburn is widely regarded as a premium dessert apple, with a rich and complex flavour, and crisp, juicy flesh. It is a heavy cropper and crops early in its life.

Sponsored by: Gill Noakes

Butler (cobnut). Planted winter 2023/24

A high yielding, large, strongly flavoured nut which is easily picked. It originates from the US and is often grown commercially as it has reliable and high yields of excellent quality nuts. A moderately vigorous tree which produces a high proportion of large, single nuts. They can be picked fresh from the tree in September and will keep until Christmas.

Cambridge (greengage). Planted winter 2023/24 on St Julien A rootstock

Bred by Chivers & Son of Histon in Cambridgeshire and trialed in 1927 by the National Fruit Trials at Wisley. Thought to be a seedling of Old Greengage and received an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1998. A greenish yellow skinned gage that is probably a seedling of the Green Gage, but is larger in size and better cropping. It has soft and juicy flesh which is extremely sweet to taste and are equally good for eating fresh or making jam. It is a reliable cropper and also self fertile. The trees are naturally compact and shouldn’t require any pruning.

Catshead (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 as an Espalier

One of the oldest English varieties, first mentioned by Parkinson in 1629. The exact origin is unknown but likely to have been as a seedling of the costard apples introduce to the UK by the Normans in the 11th and 12th Centuries. Primarily a culinary apple, it produces large conical fruit which cook to a firm purée and don’t need much sugar adding. Once a favourite for baked apples and apple dumplings, because of its shape. White, juicy flesh. Stores to Christmas.

Charles Ross (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on MM106 rootstock

Raised by Charles Ross, who was the head gardener at Welford Park in Berkshire from 1860 until 1908, which he created by crossing Peasgood’s Nonsuch and Cox’s Orange Pippin. He originally named it Thomas Andrew Knight after the president of the London Horticultural Society. Under that name it was awarded the RHS Award of Merit in 1899. Renamed Charles Ross later that year, it was also awarded an RHS First Class Certificate. In 1993 it was awarded the Award of Garden Merit. It is lightly aromatic, very sweet and juicy, with a firm texture, delicious to eat raw, and keeping its shape when cooked. It will keep until December, but is best consumed earlier.

Chiver’s Delight (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

Raised by Stephen Chivers, a member of the family run John Chivers Farms of Histon, Cambridgeshire, in 1920. It has a sweet, tangy, gently acid taste with a fruity, honeyed flavour. The texture is firm, crisp and juicy. An attractive, medium sized dessert apple with amber and orange flushes, streaked red. Crops are generally good. Ripe in October, the apples will store until January, but older apples are best stewed as they lose their crispness after around six weeks and start becoming powdery. One of Monty Don’s Top 10 apples!

Christmas Pearmain (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

This dessert apple has aromatic, firm, sweet and juicy flesh with some sharpness. It was raised from a chance seedling by H. Manser of Maidstone in 1893, was then produced commercially by a nursery near Maidstone called G. Bunyard & Couring; and was first described by P. Crowley in the 1894 “Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society.” It is a moderately vigorous, upright, compact variety. A spur bearer, it tends to bear fruit every second year, is easy to grow and a good cropper.

Clapps Favourite (pear). Planted winter 2023/24 on Quince A rootstock

This is an early-fruiting, reliable variety that produces heavy crops of medium sized yellow-green fruits with a red blush. The flesh is delicious, sweet and juicy with a light acid flavour, making them also suitable for cooking. It was raised by Thaddeus Clapp of Dorchester, Massachusetts, USA in 1860 and previously grown commercially in both the US and UK. It is recommended by the RHS as an excellent attractant and nectar source for bees and other beneficial insects, and also to assist in encouraging bats, as the flowers are likely to attract moths and other night-flying insects which bats love to eat! It grows into a moderately vigorous tree with a drooping habit and is a prolific cropper.

Concorde (pear). Planted winter 2022/23 on Quince C rootstock

Raised in Kent at the East Malling Research Station in 1977 and holds an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society. Concorde is a very heavy cropping variety, with a flavour to match the quality of the fruits. Raised from a cross between Conference and Doyenne du Comice, Concorde has inherited the reliability and easy growth of Conference with the influence of Doyenne to give a beautiful flavour. The fruits are medium to large, light green turning pale yellow as they ripen. The sweet, juicy flesh has a very good texture. The fruits are ready for picking late October and store well until January. 

Conference (pear). Planted winter 2022/23 on ?? rootstock

It is no coincidence that the ‘Conference’ pear is named as such. In 1885, a conference was held in England to promote the cultivation of pears on home soil. More than 600 pears were presented at this conference, but Conference was the variety which stood out by far and it soon gained popularity at home and abroad. Thomas Francis Rivers, who bred the variety, selected it from open-pollinated seedlings of the mother variety ‘Léon Leclerc de Laval’. The pear has been on the market since 1894 and is one of the most cultivated pear varieties in Central and Western Europe. The pears are sweet and very juicy, with a pleasant acidity and a slight muscat flavour. Conference received the Award of Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 2002.

Cornish Gilliflower (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

Discovered by Sir Christopher Hawkins in a cottage garden near Truro, Cornwall, in about 1800 and brought to the attention of the RHS in 1813. A high quality dessert variety with an unusual, irregular shape, and intense fragrance, generally acknowledged as one of the best-flavoured English apples. The Victorian author Hogg explained the origin of the word “gilliflower” or “gillyflower” as being a corruption of the French word “girofle” signifying clove – and the blossom of this variety has a clove-like scent. In the words of Hogg it is “remarkable for its rich and aromatic flavour.” However, some sources explain the name from Gillyflower being the Cornish for Carnation, with which it shares the distinctive clove-like fragrance. A vigorous variety that tends to be a tip bearer. The flesh is very firm, dry and sweet. When cut, expect a honeyed-melon fragrance and the hints of clove. It is also a relatively good keeper, and can be eaten well into the new year.

Cosford (Filbert). Planted winter 2023/24

Originated in 1816 from the Ipswich area. An attractive, fast growing tree that produces heavy crops of large, oval nuts in late September and October with thin shells and a delicate, creamy, hazelnut flavour. Cosford is one of the most popular Filbert varieties and the nuts can be eaten when green, or stored throughout the winter. Filberts are identified by their long husks (the covering of the nut) which cover the whole nut (and originate from the non-native Corylus maxima).

Court of Wick (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

This is an open pollinated seedling of Golden Pippin which originated from Court of Wick, Claverham, near Yatton in Somerset and was first introduced in 1790 by Wood of Huntingdon, but likely to have been grown for much longer. The flesh is yellowish, tender, crisp, sweet-sharp, very juicy, fruity and richly-flavoured with a full appley taste. It is a vigorous spur bearer producing heavy crops and the fruit stores for up to three months.

Court Pendu Plat (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on MM106 rootstock

Perhaps the oldest variety of apple still grown, it is thought to have existed during the days of the Roman Empire, was documented in the early 1400s in Normandy and was found growing among Gallo-Roman ruins at Mandeure in Doubs, France in the late 16th Century. First described in about 1613 it was always a very popular apple in Victorian times, featuring in a list of the 10 favourite dessert apples. Still considered one of the best of the really late dessert varieties. Very late flowering. Produces medium sized, flat, well-rounded, regular fruit. The flesh is creamy white, firm, fine-textured and juicy, the dense flesh falling halfway between crisp and soft. It has a sweet, intensely fruity flavour, with pineapple-like acidity, becoming sweeter as it matures in storage. Has a distinct aniseed after-taste. Upright spur-bearer of moderate vigour. Bears from a young age and crops are usually heavy.

Cox’s Orange Pippin (apple). Two trees planted winter 2022/23; and 2023/24 as an Espalier

This is widely regarded as the classic English apple and the finest of all dessert apples. It arose in England in the 19th century as a chance seedling, and remains unsurpassed for its richness and complexity of flavour. Good examples are said to include subtle flavours of pear, melon, freshly-squeezed Florida orange juice, and mango. Almost all other apples taste one-dimensional alongside a good Cox’s Orange Pippin. At its best when picked fully ripe straight from the tree, or within a few weeks at most, it is not a great storer. Unfortunately England’s greatest apple is not particularly easy to grow. It needs a relatively cool maritime climate and is also prone to diseases. It does best in SE England, so fingers crossed for our trees…

Crab apple (native). Planted winter 2023/24

The wild, native Crab Apple is now a relatively rare tree of woods and hedgerows. we have a few specimens in our new internal hedgerows, but have also planted one on its own to mature into a specimen tree. This is primarily for its value in cross-pollinating other apple trees and for members who wish to have a go at crab apple jelly. The tree has huge benefits for wildlife, supporting pollinator with its profuse blossom; and numerous birds, invertebrates and mammals eat its apples and leaves.

D’arcy Spice (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

An old Essex variety found in the grounds of the Hall at Tolleshunt D’Arcy in 1785 and originally sold as ‘Baddow Pippin’. The tree flowers mid-season, often on the tips of branches, but also on a moderate number of spurs. The substantial amount of tip-bearing of the fruit gradually weighs down the upright branches and transforms the tree from a very upright shape, into the more normal spreading shape associated with apple trees. The greenish white flesh is firm, crisp, sweet and tart, aromatic, developing distinct aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, but needs lots of sunshine, especially in late summer and early autumn to bring out the full aromas. When harvested, the apples have a sharp, unpalatable taste, but when left to develop in storage, the flavour becomes sweet and tangy with spice-forward notes of vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and raisins, likened to a mince-pie filling. D’Arcy Spice has a reputation for somewhat variable cropping from one year to the next in many parts of the UK and does best in the warmer and drier East or South East. The fruit is picked very late in the season – often early November. The storage qualities are very good, with fruits often remaining in good condition until the following spring. Historically the fruits would be stored for a month or two before they became edible. The mature fruits will also tolerate being lightly frosted without apparently being damaged, while the previous season’s windfalls can often be found lying in the grass in late winter, looking as fresh as the day they fell off the tree in the previous autumn. Moderately vigorous, slow growing as a mature tree. Spurs freely but crops irregularly, usually every two years.

Discovery (apple). Two trees planted winter 2022/23 on M9 rootstock

Discovery is an important early season apple, grown commercially on a small-scale. It was found in the late 1940s by a fruit farm worker in Langham, Essex, who planted some pips of Worcester Pearmain in his garden. Worcester Pearmain is probably the source of the strawberry flavour. Although the overall flavour lacks depth, it is a change from imported apples when it comes into season, and nice when served slightly chilled from the fridge. It has a fresh, tangy, slightly acidic flavour, and the apples will last for about a week after picking.

Sponsored by: Martyn Everitt

Downton Pippin (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 as an Espalier

Downton Pippin was raised as a cross between from Orange Pippin and Golden Pippin by a Mr. Knight at Elton Manor, Ludlow, Shropshire and named after Downton Castle in Shropshire, which his brother owned. It was first exhibited in 1806. Primarily an eating apple, which was very popular with Victorians, but it also cooks well. The flesh is cream coloured, crisp, juicy and sharp with a cidery flavour. Moderately vigorous, spur bearer. Upright spreading. Produces heavy, biennial crops and the apples will keep for up to three months.

Duck’s Bill (apple). SUSSEX variety. Planted winter 2023/24 on M27 rootstock

This variety gets its name from its ribbed and flat-sided shape, and has sweet and richly-flavoured, slightly chewy flesh, balanced with plenty of acidity. It was introduced by Fred Streeter, Head Gardener at Petworth House, in 1937, but may well be the ancient Sussex Duck’s Bill variety. As it has a strongly upright growth habit we will be pruning this tree in the centre-leader style.

Egremont Russet (apple). SUSSEX variety. Two trees planted winter 2022/23 and 2023/24 on MM106 rootstock

This variety was first recorded in 1872 and is thought to have been cultivated on the estate of Lord Egremont at Petworth, whose estate gardens were famed for their fruit trees. The fruit is small and round, with a distinctive muddy brown colour, complemented by a yellow flush. The flavour is distinctively sweet and nutty and after keeping the flavour becomes more tannic and smokier. The apples can be picked in early October and stored until December.

Ellison’s Orange (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

Raised by Rev. C.C. Ellison of Bracebridge, Lincolnshire and Mr Wipf, gardener at nearby Hartsholme Hall, in 1904 from crossing Cox’s Orange Pippin and Caville Blanc d’Hiver. They sent grafts to Pennell, a nurseryman, who introduced it in 1911. An Award of Merit was received in the same year from the Royal Horticultural Society and a First Class Certificate in 1917. The flesh is quite soft, somewhat pear-like in texture, and juicier than Cox, fine-grained, tender and melting. It is juicy, sweet, rich and fragrant with hints of aniseed and the skin exudes a spicy aroma. After a few days the aniseed is slightly more apparent – but merely as a liquorice undertone to a whole array of different fruit flavours. Will go soft if left to ripen too long. A hardy, mid-season variety that is easier to grow successfully than Cox and is more disease resistant. Moderately vigorous, upright spreading spur bearer. Bears heavy crops every two years.

Ennis (cobnut). Planted winter 2023/24

Ennis originates from the US and produces very attractive large round nuts with a superb flavour, but has a tendency to produce a significant proportion of blank nuts.

Elder (native elderberry). 3 x sets of 3 whips planted in winter 2023/24

Elder is a native tree that can grow up to 15m in height and is characterised by its furrowed corky bark, short trunk and sparse branching. We’ve planted them primarily for the flowers and berries, which have multiple uses, as well as its biodiversity value and the use of the wood for Forest School activities. The name Elder is thought to come from the Anglo-Saxon ‘aeld’, meaning fire, because the hollow stems were used as bellows to blow air into the centre of a fire. The flowers are great for wine, cordial or tea, and can be fried to make fritters. The vitamin C-rich berries are often used to make preserves and wine, and can be baked in a pie with blackberries.

Epicure (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 as a Supercolumn by Ashdown Primary School in the Forest School area

Raised by Laxton Bros. of Bedford in 1909 from crossing Wealthy with Cox’s Orange Pippin. It was introduced in 1929, received the RHS Award of Merit 1931 and won the Bunyard Cup in 1929 and 1932. Creamy white flesh, juicy with a refreshing flavour – cidery and rich with hints of flowers, spice, and a little toast. Like most early cropping varieties the fruit tends to drop quickly once ripe. The apples are small unless thinned and are best eaten fresh since the Epicure does not store well. Moderately vigorous, upright spreading spur bearer. Produces heavy crops but tends to be biennial.

Farleigh (damson). Planted winter 2023/24 on St Julien A rootstock

This extremely hardy variety was first introduced in 1820, found as a chance seedling at Farleigh in Kent. A very heavy and reliable cropping variety producing blue-black fruits with a sublime flavour. Some sources claim it is sweet enough to eat fresh from the tree (we’ll see), the fruits are also perfect for pies, jams, bottling and wine making. It is recommended by the RHS to be an excellent attractant and nectar source for bees and other beneficial insects.

First and Last (apple). SUSSEX variety. Planted winter 2023/24 on MM106 rootstock

The exact origin of this variety isn’t known, but probably from the Horsham area. Hogg (1851) wrote that it was commonly grown in the north of Sussex and transported to Brighton markets. It is so-named because of its long season of maturing, some apples ripening early, others later. A firm, refreshing dessert apple, with a rich flavour, hinting of pineapple; also excellent for cooking. Apples can be picked in mid October and stored until April.

Forge (apple). SUSSEX variety. Two trees planted winter 2023/24 on MM106 rootstock

First described by British pomologist Robert Hogg in 1851 when it was already well known. In 1884 he changed the origin to “Forge Farm, near one of the old forges in the iron districts of Sussex, near Crawley.” It was widely grown in North Sussex and Surrey in the 19th century, with Hogg stating: “In the north-eastern parts of Sussex, and the adjoining county of Surrey, it is extensively cultivated, and I believe there is scarcely a cottager’s garden where it is not to be met with, nor is there a cottager to whom its name is not as familiar as his own, it being considered to supply all the qualifications that a valuable apple is supposed to possess.” Forge is an excellent cooking apple that ripens to a lightly aromatic eating apple. Hogg’s account of 1851 describes it as: “A beautiful and valuable apple, suitable either for the dessert, culinary use, or for the manufacture of cider. It is in use from October to January. The tree attains about the middle size, is perfectly hardy and healthy, and quite free from canker and disease. It is a most abundant and regular bearer.” The flesh is crisp, juicy, sweet and rich with a good tang of acid. Ripe in late September, the apples will keep to the year end, though they are at their best before the end of November, when they lose some flavour, though they stay moist and sweet. A good cropper. Moderately vigorous, upright spreading tree.

George Cave (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

Golden Pippin (apple). SUSSEX variety. Two trees planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

Sponsored by: Stuart Winter

Green Custard (apple). SUSSEX variety. Planted winter 2022/23 on MM106 rootstock

Greensleeves (apple). Two trees planted winter 2022/23 on M26 and MM106 rootstock

Sponsored by: Joanna Girling

Gunslebert (cobnut). Planted winter 2023/24

This is a very heavy and reliable cropper, growing as a fairly compact bush. It produces very large clusters of up to eight medium to large nuts with a strongly nutty flavour and originated from Germany in the 1500s. The word Cob originates from the Middle English Cobbe, referring to a round object.

Hessle (or Hazel) (pear). Planted winter 2023/24 on Quince A rootstock

Originated from Hessle, which at the time was a village near Hull. First recorded in 1827, but thought to be much older. Also known as the Hazel pear – there’s a Hazel Pear pub in Cheshire where it was grown commercially for the Liverpool market. It hit its high point in popularity in the North of England and Scotland, and used to be widely grown and appreciated for its reliable crops everywhere; it travelled well and was sold to fruit markets and jam factories. The fruit is juicy and sweet, with a mild flavour, but best for cooking, perfect for jams and cakes. It is said to have been an ingredient in a traditional spice cake from the north of England. Very hardy, disease resistant, a vigorous tree and a heavy cropper.

Howgate Wonder (apple). Planted winter 2022/23 on MM106 rootstock

The parents of Howgate Wonder are Blenheim Orange and Newton Wonder. It was first grown in 1916 at Howgate Lane in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight by a retired policeman, G. Wratten. It was introduced in 1932 by Stuart Low’s Nursery and received an RHS Award of Merit in 1949. Howgate Wonder is one of the largest cooking apples in cultivation, so big that in 1997 a Howgate Wonder was recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest apple ever grown, weighing an amazing 1.67kg. Recommended to be used as a cooker when it is picked around mid-October up until mid-December and then to be used as an eater (when the sweetness comes through) from January to March. Can be stored for 5-6 months in a dry, unheated garage. One key use for this variety is for juicing, particularly because of its size (and it is used by Copella). Only six apples will give a litre of juice! A vigorous, upright spreading tree and a spur bearer.

Sponsored by: Janet Hogg

Irish Peach (apple). Two trees planted winter 2022/23 in the orchard; and winter 2023/24 as a Supercolumn by Ashdown Primary School in the Forest School area

Irish Peach was discovered in Ireland in the early 19th century and is believed to have come from the orchards of the Croftons of Sligo. Introduced to England in 1820 when it was send to the London Horticultural Society by John Robertson, nurseryman of Kilkenny. Popular during Victorian and Edwardian times and grown by market gardeners in London and Kent during the 19th century. It is a very early season apple, often ripening at the end of July or early August and has good natural resistance to many diseases. It is a high quality dessert apple producing small yellow fruit with a dull dark crimson flush and faint stripes. The flesh is firm, crisp and juicy, with a good balance of sweetness and acidity. The flavour is outstanding for an early apple, aromatic with a hint of peach, and best eaten straight from the tree, as it does not keep. It has a reputation as a beautiful dish for desserts and also makes excellent apple juice. Irish Peach is a fairly vigorous tree with a slightly weeping habit, very attractive in flower and when the fruit is ripe. It is a good, reliable cropper, but comes late into bearing and crops every other year. A tip-bearer, so not suitable for trained forms.

Jargonelle (pear). Planted winter 2023/24 on Quince A rootstock

It’s exact origins are unknown but it was first mentioned in 1629 by Parkinson. Thought to be a lot older and it has been identified as Pliny’s Numidianum Groecum. Cited as being widely regarded as the best of the early pears, with few of the newer varieties able to rival it for taste. Jargonelle is one of the hardiest and longest lived pears, making a majestic tree. Pale yellow with brownish-red flush on some fruits. The pale yellow flesh is tender and juicy with a musky flavour. It is one of the earliest summer pears to ripen, ready to pick from August. Like many earlies it can drop from the tree unexpectedly, so timings of picking is important. A dessert pear that does not store and said to be best eaten straight from the tree or allowed to ripen fully for just a couple of days indoors. A spreading tree with moderate vigour. Produces spurs, but part tip-bearing, so care needed when pruning. A hardy, reliable cropper.

Jubilee (plum). Planted winter 2022/23 on Pixy rootstock

A new and improved variety developed at the SLU Balsgard Research Station, Sweden in 1985 and expected to become even more popular than Victoria. Produces juicy fruits larger and tastier than Jubilee, perfect for eating straight from the tree. Crops heavily from August through September and also great for cooking and jam-making.

Sponsored by: Grant and Vanessa Bradford

Kentish Cob (Lamberts Filbert) (cobnut). Planted winter 2023/24

The true ‘native’ filbert of Kent, holding the RHS Award of Garden Merit. The large nuts are long and slightly flattened in shape and carried in generous clusters. Vigorous in habit, it’s compact for a hazel, with a bushy habit, rather slow growing and a reliable cropper, relatively hardy, with excellent flavour. Left to ripen, their sweetness really comes into its own – making for a lovely addition to the nut bowl or cakes and pastries.

Kerry Pippin (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

An Irish heritage variety of second early dessert apple, Kerry Pippin was first recorded in a Kilkenny statistical survey of 1802, but is understood to have a much older heritage. The fruit is small and glossy, greenish-yellow flushed orange with red specks, with crisp, sweet, aromatic, yellowish flesh of delicious, rich, spicy flavour and hint of boysenberry. The tree is moderately vigorous and upright, easy to prune and a heavy, annual cropper. Spur-bearer, producing the fruiting spurs freely. Picking from late August and will keep for about a month.

Kidd’s Orange Red (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 as a Supercolumn by Ashdown Primary School in the Forest School area

Kidd’s Orange Red is named after James Hutton Kidd, an orchard owner living in Greytown, Wairarapa, New Zealand in the early 20th century who had a passion for raising new varieties. He crossed Cox’s Orange Pippin with Delicious, creating in 1924 what has been described as one of the most outstanding “English” style apples available. It was introduced to the UK in 1932 and received the RHS Award of Merit in 1973. The skin is thin and the flesh is a light yellow-cream colour, and quite dense. The flesh is firm rather than crunchy. The flavour is rich, sweet and honeyed. It is also pleasantly chewy, each bite releasing yet more juice and flavour. Kidd’s Orange Red is a late season variety, ripening around mid-October and best eaten before the New Year.

King James (mulberry). Planted winter 2022/23

This black mulberry is derived from a tree that existed in the 17th century, in a garden in Swan Walk, which became the Chelsea Physic Garden, during the time of King James I. During WWII the last remaining tree was about to be grubbed to make way for an air shelter when cuttings were taken and this variety has survived ever since in the trees of this name. Producing large and succulent fruit cropping early in life. Harvesting is best done each day. If hand picked the fruit will be bruised, causing staining to fingers and clothes. For a clean operation take a large sheet and lay it under the tree and shake the boughs vigorously. Any perfectly ripe fruit will fall and are subsequently gathered with ease. The fruit have an intensely rich flavour, great for eating raw or cooking, e.g. as a basic ice-cream sauce with a little sugar or honey. Winner of the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Crops in August. Mulberries have been grown in Britain since at least Roman times and, like so many other valuable resources and technologies, were preserved by the Church, especially monasteries. By the Elizabethan period, fresh mulberries were an essential part of an ostentatious feast, partly because they perish so quickly and don’t travel well, so they could not be bought in for any price. In 1607, King James I ordered the planting of 10,000 black mulberry trees to kickstart a British silk industry to compete with the French and Italian ones, but this never caught on, probably due to the climate (it also turns out that silkworms much prefer white mulberry trees!). Many of these old trees are alive and well today.

Sponsored by: Andrea Kocache

Knobby Russet (apple). SUSSEX variety. Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

Originated from Sussex in the early 1800s, with the first record being from 1819 when apples were sent to the London Horticultural Society by Haslar Capron, from Midhurst. The apple is medium-sized, and has firm, dry flesh offering a sweet, rich flavour and a balanced taste consisting of citrus and spiced notes. The
skin is covered in knobbles, hence the name ‘Knobby Russet.’ Fruit can be picked in early October and will store until January.

Lady Lambourne (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 as a Supercolumn by Ashdown Primary School in the Forest School area.

Found at Appleby Farm, Kingston Bagpuize, Berkshire in 1945, this sport from Lord Lambourne has the most beautiful intensely coloured fruits which exhibit various sunset shades of orange, red and yellow. In all other respects it is identical to Lord Lambourne with the same excellent flavour.

Laxton’s Superb (apple). Planted winter 2022/23 as an Espalier on MM106 rootstock

A cross between Wyken Pippin and Cox’s Orange Pippin, this cultivar was developed by the Laxton Brothers Nursery (taken over in 1957 by Bunyard Nurseries) in Bedfordshire, England. Laxton Brothers were important breeders at this time and this is said to be probably their most important variety. The RHS honoured it with an Award of Merit in 1919 and a First Class Certificate in 1921. The greenish white flesh is dense and sweet. Crisp and not overly juicy. Look for a hint of aniseed. Keeps three months in cold storage. Best eaten fresh, but flavour is said to be enhanced by cutting it into wedges rather than biting out of it. Vigorous, spreading spur bearer. Crops heavily but has a tendancy to produce biennially. Laxton’s Superb is essentially a Cox-style apple, but with an interesting twist in flavour inherited from its other parent Wyken Pippin, which had been popular since the 18th century but is now little known. The shape is much more upright than the flattened signature of Cox, and is reminiscent of Adams Pearmain. The colour is dull red flush over green – attractive in a subdued way.

Sponsored by: Bill Welch

Lord Lambourne (apple). Planted winter 2022/23 as an Espalier on MM106 rootstock

Raised by Laxton Brothers Ltd. at Bedford in 1907 from crossing James Grieve and Worcester Pearmain. It is named after the president of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), was introduced in 1923 and received the Bunyard Cup from Royal Horticultural Society in 1923 and an Award of Merit in 1925. A high-quality dessert apple with an orange flush over green, with a hint of russet. The flesh is creamy-white and quite crisp, acidic, very juicy and the flavour is pleasantly sweet-sharp, with good depth and said to have hints of strawberry and pear. It is one of the earliest of the aromatic English-style apples, a good annual cropper. Moderately vigorous, upright spreading and a partial tip-bearer.

Sponsored by: Sue Hallett and David Martin

Lord Lennox (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

A Victorian dessert apple, grown extensively in England through the 1800s. Likely arose in Berkshire during the first half of the 1800s and listed in the 1830 edition of “The Library of Agricultural and Horticultural Knowledge.” Recommended as one of 12 apple varieties for a small garden by Henry Johnson in John Frederick Wood’s 1847 edition of “The Midland Florist and Suburban Horticulturist.” The flesh is yellowish, crisp, juicy and sweet-sharp, with an intense aromatic, balanced flavour. Moderately vigorous, keeps for up to two months in cold storage.

Mannington’s Pearmain (apple). SUSSEX variety. Planted winter 2022/23 on M26 rootstock

Sponsored by: Kevin Crook and family

Margaret (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

This dessert variety is first mentioned in John Rea’s “Flora: Seu, De Florum Cultura” published in 1665, but thought to be much older. There is no record of its parentage and it is so named because it ripens around St Margaret’s day, 22nd July (St Margaret of Antioch). Valuable because of its very early season and once widely grown across Europe and North America. This is a pretty, highly coloured apple which is ideal picked and eaten straight from the tree before it drops. The flavour is slightly sharp, but juicy and refreshing, the flesh rich and aromatic. It is best picked before fully ripe for the best texture and flavour as the apples tend to become mealy within a short time. A moderately vigorous, upright tree. Bears its fruit on spurs and produces good crops. 

Marjorie’s Seedling (plum). Planted winter 2023/24 on St Julien A rootstock

Meech’s Prolific (quince). Planted winter 2023/24

Merryweather (damson). Planted winter 2023/24 on St Julien A rootstock

Michaelmas Red (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 as a Supercolumn by Ashdown Primary School in the Forest School area

Developed by H.M. Tydeman at the East Malling Research Station in Kent (U.K.) by crossing McIntosh with Worcester Pearmain. Released in 1929Raised in Kent in 1929, this very attractive apple is extremely sweet, juicy and aromatic. The skin is a light green almost totally covered with dark red flushing. Fruit are small, but cropping is very heavy. A very refreshing apple. Tender, juicy and sweet, raspberry flavour. Does not keep well since the flavours tend to deteriorate quickly in storage even if the apple retains its shape and texture

Nanny (apple). SUSSEX variety. Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

Nottingham (filbert). Planted winter 2023/24

This is a small compact tree with a lovely display of pale yellow catkins in spring and produces a heavy crop of large, richly flavoured nuts in the autumn. Although this variety is often described as a cobnut, it is actually a filbert. The difference between the two is the that the husk (the covering of the nut) of the filbert is long and covers the whole nut (and originates from the non-native Corylus maxima), whereas the husk of cobnuts covers just part of the fruit with the nut protruding (and cobnuts originate from our native Hazel Corylus avellana). This variety was raised in Newark and introduced by Messrs. Pearson and Co of Chilwell, Nottinghamshire.

Nova (elderberry). Planted winter 2023/24

A specially selected fruiting strain of Elderberry introduced by the Nova Scotia Experiment Station in 1946. Frothy sprays of flowers develop in the summer – great for cordials and sparkling wine! Rich purple aromatic berries follow in August and September. This cultivar has very vigorous growth with very good quality, prolific, large and sweet fruit. The berries are full of vitamins and can be used in jams, compots, cordials, for juicing and even in wine.

Nutmeg Pippin (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

The origin of this tree is unknown but it was first recorded in Britain 1920. The tree produces small dessert apples with bronze markings. They are said to be delicious, having an aromatic flavour with a hint of nutmeg. They are ready for picking in October and will store until January.

Old Greengage (greengage). Planted winter 2023/24 on St Julien A rootstock

Gages have been grown in Europe since the Middle Ages and this variety was recorded in Britain in the 18th century. It produces white spring blossom followed by round, green juicy fruit in August. The fruit is said to be of exceptional flavour.

Onward (pear). Planted winter 2022/23 on Quince ?? rootstock

Pixie (apple). Planted winter 2022/23 on MM106 rootstock

Sponsored by: Mark Fisher

Red Ellison (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

This variety was discovered in 1948 growing in the fenland orchard of Harold Selby in Walpole St Peter. A red dessert apple with a juicy, aromatic flavour, ready for eating from September to November.

Red Falstaff (apple). Planted winter 2022/23 on MM106 rootstock

Sponsored by: Suzanne Hall

Red Windsor (apple). Planted winter 2022/23 as an Espalier on MM106 rootstock

Sponsored by: Kay and Jonathan Pennick

Ribston Pippin (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 as an Espalier

This variety was originally grown from a seed brought from Rouen in France by Sir Henry Goodricke in 1707, at Ribston Hall near Knaresborough, Yorkshire. The apple is red with darker red streaks, and is  juicy, rich and sweet. It is said to have a very high Vitamin C content. It is best eaten fresh but will store until January and can also be used for making cider.

Rivers’ Early Peach (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

Introduced by Thomas Rivers at River’s Nursery, Sawbridgeworth, Herefordshire in 1893. A medium-sized dessert apple with a sweet, juicy flavour and aromatic flesh. Ready to eat in August and is best eaten straight from the tree as it doesn’t store. A vigorous, upright tree.

Robin (pear). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

An old variety of pear thought to have originated in Norfolk, mentioned in records as far back as 1755.  It has been known by several other names including “The French King’s Favourite”. It produces small pears with red “cheeks” which give it its name. Ready for harvesting September to October, excellent as a dessert pear, as it is sweet and juicy, but it can also be used for cooking.

Rubinola (apple). Planted winter 2022/23 on MM106 rootstock

Sponsored by: Fiona Cattermole

Saltcote Pippin (apple). SUSSEX variety. Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

First recorded in 1918, this variety was cultivated by James Hoad of Rye from either a Ribston Pippin or Radford Beauty. The apple came from an area that flooded from the tidal River Rother, creating salt pans, and James lived in a large house on Saltcote Lane which ran from the main Rye Road down to the salt stores. The word Saltcote comes from the cottages or cotes, where the salt was dried. Produces medium to large fruit with a rich, aromatic flavour (said to have notes of honey, grapefruit and cinnamon), which become sweeter as they ripen. Ready to harvest in October and will store from November to March.

Saturn (apple). Planted winter 2022/23 on MM106 rootstock

Sponsored by: Ken and Annette Grindlay

Scarlet Pimpernel (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 as a Supercolumn by Ashdown Primary School in the Forest School area

Scrumptious (apple). Planted winter 2022/23 on MM106 rootstock

Sponsored by: Jo Budd

Shropshire Damson (damson). Planted winter 2023/24

Also known as the Prune Damson, this variety is said to have the best flavour of all the damsons. It was first referenced in the 1670s, and is thought to be native to the West Midlands and originally found in hedgerows. The rich purple fruit is intensely sugary once cooked, with a distinctive, rich, astringent flavour. It has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Excellent for jams, puddings and gin, as well as being dried for prunes, which are good in savoury dishes.

St Edmund’s Pippin (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

St Edmund’s Pippin was raised by Mr R. Harvey at Bury St Edmund’s in the mid 1800s. It is russet in colour and is similar to Egremont Russet. It has a rich, sweet flavour that some say is superior to Egremont Russet. It is a dessert apple that is ready for eating in early October and will store for about a month.

St Cecilia (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

Raised in Monmouth, Wales in 1900 from Cox’s Orange Pippin and awarded the RHS Award of Merit. The apple has a greenish, slightly yellow skin, flushed with red. It is crisp and sweet with a hint of Cox flavour. The apple is ready for picking in October but it is said that the flavour is most delicious on St Cecilia’s Day (22 November). It will store until March.

Stanmer Pippin (apple). SUSSEX variety. Planted winter 2023/24 on MM106 rootstock

This is a relatively local variety, grown from a pip of a supermarket apple by Anne Marwick during the 1960s. The tree was raised by Plumpton College Horticultural Centre in Stanmer Park. Producing medium-sized dessert apples, the skin is flushed orange-red with red stripes. It may also have white dots or lenticels on the skin. Juicy apple with a sweet flavour, ready for picking and eating in September.

Stella (cherry). Planted winter 2022/23 on Gisele rootstock

Sponsored by: Corinna Rupp

Sturmer Pippin (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

Raised by Ezekiel Dillstone in Sturmer, Essex around 1800. It is a cross between Ribston Pippin and Nonpareil. a richly flavoured dessert apple that should be left on the tree as long as possible, as it is not fully ripe until late November. High in Vitamin C due to the Ribston parent. It does well in warm summers which allow the fruit to develop a fuller flavour. It is said to develop its sweet flavour in storage where it will last until April. It was very popular with the Victorians due to its storing ability.

Summer Sun (cherry). Planted winter 2022/23 on ?? rootstock

Sunset (apple). Planted winter 2022/23 on MM106 rootstock

Sponsored by: Keith Brown

Sussex Mother (apple). SUSSEX variety. Planted winter 2023/24 on MM106 rootstock

This variety originated in the Heathfield area, dates from the 1800s and is still found in some Sussex
gardens. The fruit is brownish-green in colour, with brown speckles and the apples have a distinctively sweet, slightly spicy flavour, with a hint of aniseed. It is ready for picking around early September and the
fruit should keep until October. This variety was first named in 1884 by Robert Hogg.

Sutton Sunset (apple). SUSSEX variety. Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

Sutton Sunset has beautiful deep pink blossom. Unusually, the fruit when young (roughly the size of a large marble) have deep magenta flesh and taste sweet. The ripe apple is ready for harvesting in late September to early October and has a pale green skin with broad irregular red stripes, crunchy red flesh and a sweet flavour. Good for both cooking and eating. Originates from a mystery tree growing in a west-facing garden in the village of Sutton near Pulborough, and named for the wonderful sunsets seen from the garden.

Sylvia (cherry). Planted winter 2022/23 on Gisela 5 rootstock

Sponsored by: Julia Waterton

Tinsley Quince (apple). SUSSEX variety. Planted winter 2022/23 on MM106 rootstock

unknown variety (sweet chestnut). Donated tree, planted winter 2023/24

Vicar of Winkfield (pear). Planted winter 2023/24 on Quince A rootstock

Discovered growing wild in a wood near Villers-en-Brenne in France in 1760 by Msr Leroy, the local curate. In the UK it was named after the Rev Rham of Winkfield who introduced it to Britain. It is a late season cooking pear and should be left on the tree until as late as December. It will continue to ripen in store until February, turning from green to pale yellow. Good for tarts, bottling, stewing and jams.

Victoria (plum). Planted winter 2022/23 on Wavit rootstock

Vranja (quince). Planted winter 2023/24

Produces large pear-shaped, fragrant fruits that were once used as air fresheners! The fruit develop a beautiful golden yellow colour when ripe, and have an excellent flavour, which is full of rich aromas and fragrance. The fruit is ready to harvest in September and October and is good for making jellies or jam.  Lots of pink flowers are produced in spring for which it has received an RHS award. This variety of quince is known to produce a lot of fruit.

Sponsored by: Steffi Pusch

Wadhurst Pippin (apple). SUSSEX variety. Planted winter 2023/24 on MM106 rootstock

Originated in the early 1800s from the Wadhurst area. The fruit is large and strongly ribbed, reddish
with a yellow flush. The fruit has quite a spicy, savoury taste, with a sharp, hard, juicy flesh giving it a crisp bite, is an excellent cooking apple and was also used for cider. The fruit can be picked in early October
and will store until February.

White Marseilles (fig). Planted winter 2023/24 in its own pot

A very old variety from France, first recorded in Britain in the 1800s. It crops really well, producing large, pear-shaped fruit that ripen to almost white (hence the name) in August and September. Like all figs, it produces most fruit if the roots are restricted. When ripe the fruit, which is juicy, has a sweet, rich flavour, while the flesh is almost transparent.

William Crump (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 as an espalier

This dessert apple has yellowish, crisp and firm flesh which is juicy and sweet with a nutty flavour and pineapple tartness. It is a cross between Cox’s Orange Pippin and Worcester Pearmain, and was developed and raised from seed by William Crump (head gardener at the Madresfield Court) of Worcestershire in 1908. A vigorous, upright tree producing reliable annual crops it has been described as one of the best eating apples ever, and is in Monty Don’s Top 10!

Willingham (greengage). Planted winter 2022/23 on Pixy rootstock

Sponsored by: Emma Hunt

Winston (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

Raised in 1920 by William Pope of Berkshire, this apple is a cross between Cox’s Orange Pippin and Worcester Pearmain. It was first known as Winter King because of its availability in Winter and renamed in 1944 or 1945 after Winston Churchill. The fruit, which is ripe in late October, is medium sized, with red streaks and a rich aromatic flavour. The apple will store from December until March.

Winter Nelis (pear). Planted winter 2023/24 as an espalier

Winter Nelis was raised by Jean Charles Nelis in Malines, Belgium in the early 1800s and introduced to Britain in 1818. It produces pretty white blossom in late spring. The fruit has different characteristics to other pears as they are  rounder in shape and slightly smaller. The fruit is also produced later in the season and is ready to harvest in late October–early November. It is worth waiting for as the fruit is said to be one of the most delicious of the pear varieties, sweet and rich. Excellent for storing and if kept in a cold place may store until February.

Worcester Pearmain (apple). Planted winter 2022/23 as an Espalier on MM106 rootstock

Sponsored by: Bill and Liz Martinelli

Yellow Ingestrie (apple). Planted winter 2023/24 on M26 rootstock

Raised by Thomas Andrew Knight (President of the London Horticultural Society) in Shropshire around 1800, and named after Earl Talbot’s estate Ingestrie Hall in Staffordshire. The tree has an attractive drooping habit and produces pretty white blossom. It was once popular for use as garlands and table decorations. This dessert apple is small, yellow with a strong fruity sweet-sharp flavour and was raised from Cox’s Orange Pippin and Golden Pippin. Ready to harvest in mid-September and will store until the end of October.

Sources: Adam’s Apples; Ashridge Trees; Bernwode Nursery; Chris Bowers & Sons; East of England Apples and Orchards Project; Frank P Matthews; Future Forests; GardenFocused; HabitatAid; Keepers Nursery; Orange Pippin; Pomiferous; RV Roger Nursery; Roots Plants; Slow Food in the UK; Sussex Apple Trees; The Kentish Cobnuts Association; The Walnut Tree Co.; Woodland Trust and A Guide to Sussex Apple Varieties by Peter May.