Years ago there were thousands of varieties of fruit trees. People knew what grew well where they lived; what tasted good; what cooking apples to use for a certain dish. All that knowledge is now disappearing. The convenience of the supermarkets means that fruit is imported from anywhere when there is an English (or Welsh, Scots or Irish) variety which is far more tasty- just rarer, and less lucrative for the mass grower. Probably the only cooking apple which people can name is a Bramley and the same for other fruits. Many of the old varieties still remain in gardens and old orchards, but no-one knows what they are; just that they taste good. A cooking apple might be good for baking, but too fluffy for a good apple pie. A gooseberry can be good to eat raw. Before these fruits do disappear, someone should preserve them, Does it matter that they have lost their names? Soon they will disappear completely and many useful attributes will be lost. Some fruits grow well in sandy soil; others need damp, rich soil. Some are disease resistant and will survive for hundreds of years without chemical spraying. If an old fruit tree was a white tiger or an Elizabethan manor house we would treat them differently; but why?

That is why we do what we do. We are always looking for interesting old fruits and, where identification is difficult, at least we preserve them. There is more about identification later, for those who are interested.

 
 
 
 
 

 

We save what we can, and make it available to others (there is safety in numbers) preserving the genetic pool for the future.We are very grateful to all those good people who have helped us, told us of interesting trees and sent scionwood, given information and encouraged us with kind words and their enthusiasm, here and on the other side of the world. We thank you.


We started on this path, 25 years ago and have been heartened to find that we are not alone. There is a rapidly swelling army of enthusiasts the length and breadth of the Isles, engaged in rediscovery and conservation. Join us and give a home to a rare and endangered old fruit variety. Even the least of them will give more pleasure than the poor offerings of the supermarkets. These old fruits were valued, propagated and kept for good reasons.

 

 

Our aim is to get these old varieties back in cultivation and that does not really square with commercial pragmatism. We offer several different rootstocks and want the range to be as wide as possible. That, necessarily, means that the available numbers of any one variety of tree fruit, on any one rootstock, is limited. Please think ahead and order early to avoid disappointment. For bush fruits, we are still in the process of adding to the range, looking out for endangered historic varieties.

We are always happy to advise, either over the telephone or at the nursery. Email is fine for a quick question, but time is limited here and a longer enquiry is always best dealt with by telephone.

If you know of an old tree or fruit variety which you think will be of interest to us then please contact us. There are still so many and they are fast disappearing. We still (just) have that generation with us, who remember the names and valued the individual trees. Please direct them to us. It might be that you have an old tree, where the name is now lost but you value the tree and fruit, nonetheless. We can graft a new tree from your old one, to keep the line going. Please enquire.

Though fruit trees and bushes in containers are incapable of being certificated as organic, we grow organically, with the single exception that the compost contains inorganic fertiliser and this we consider unavoidable.

Lastly, - a tip. It is surprising how quickly fruit trees lose their names. This has happened over centuries and can still happen just a few years from planting, as people move house more frequently. When you plant fruit trees, put a map and a key with your deeds, or other important documents, for your successors.

CONTACT - Telephone: 01844 237415 Email: ask@bernwodefruittrees.co.uk
Bernwode Fruit Trees, Kingswood Lane, Ludgershall, Buckinghamshire, HP18 9RB