FENOUILLET ROUGE Another old French dessert apple which dates back to the late seventeenth century, or possibly earlier, and close in nature to Fenouillet Gris, above, but having a reddish brown flush. It has long been grown in Britain. So-named because the scented flesh is supposedly reminiscent of fennel; it is sweet and quite crisp, with a very rich flavour. The fruit is ready to pick in October and will store for several months. A very attractive looking apple and reliable cropper.

Pollination Group 4

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

FIRST AND LAST First described in 1860 and so-named because of its long season of maturing, some apples ripening early, while others were later. Scott said the season was from September to May, with medium sized apples, ovate from the middle, tapering to either end. This is the ‘true pearmain shape’ that Hogg ascribes it. The skin is greenish yellow, prettily striped with scarlet and amber in the sun. Scott describes the flesh as yellowish, tender, sweet and brisk with a peculiar spicy aroma. We find it a bit firmer, but with a rich flavour, hinting of pineapple. An excellent culinary apple, also useful for dessert. Hogg said it was from Sussex, around Horsham, and popular in Brighton markets. Canon Donald Johnson kindly sent us scions. Pollination Group 5

 

FLOWER OF THE TOWN An old Yorkshire apple, associated with the Backhouse nursery, and first recorded in the London Horticultural Society catalogue of 1826. At the 1883 National Apple Congress it was exhibited from Beachwood Gardens, Arnside in Westmorland. The 1842 London Horticultural Society catalogue described it as streaked, roundish, of kitchen use and middle quality, in use from September to November. It added ‘indifferent in quality tho’ a good bearer’. We find, in the South, that it is an excellent dessert apple, full of juice, sweetness and flavour. It is a medium sized, distinctly ribbed apple, with skin of yellow, heavily striped with scarlet. Our trees are from scionwood sent by John and Helen Hempsall, for which we send our thanks.

Pollination Group 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FORGE Recorded in 1851, but believed to be much older. Known as the Cottager's Apple, Sussex Forge and the Cottager's Friend, because it was used for making cider, for cooking, and then by Christmas, when it was sweeter, as an eating apple. Actually, the apples are crisp and delicious straight from the tree. The name Forge comes from its origin within the old iron working areas of the Weald, around Crawley and East Grinstead. Medium sized, handsome fruit, flushed orange and with bright red streaks. A very regular and good cropper. Fruit keeps until December, but becomes soft and the flavour changes.

Pollination Group 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FORSYTH'S SERPENT A very old tree, now well advanced in its renewal from a fallen ancient tree, having become two new trees, 6 yards apart. It grows just 100 yards away from our nursery entrance, at a cottage once part of Wotton Estate. It was shown to us by the late Mr and Mrs Forsyth, the owners, in the late 1990s. Incidentally, Mr Forsyth was a direct descendent of William Forsyth, gardener to George III, the famed author of ‘A Treatise on the Culture and Management of Fruit Trees’. The medium to large apples are brightly coloured red, with russet spots and though late to ripen they are worth the wait, becoming beautifully sweet, crisp, juicy and fine fleshed. They are also very good cooked, keeping their shape with a sweet rich flavour, in no need of added sugar. Ripe in late October, the fruit will last in good condition into the New Year. Named by us, the Serpent suffix comes from the shape of the tree when first seen. The fallen tree had bedded into the soil and the bends on the trunk, after decaying and sinking, resembled a serpent dipping in and out of water.

Pollination Group 4

 
             

 

FORTY SHILLINGS A dessert apple known before 1800 and assumed local to Cumberland and Westmorland. The National Fruit Trials received scions from a tree believed to have been planted in 1880 at Thirsby, near Carlisle. A dessert apple of medium size, and middle season, from September to October. A tall to truncate conic, convex shape, slightly ribbed on the body and around the eye. The skin is pale greenish-yellow, flushed brownish-red and striped with deeper red, netted with russet. The flesh is yielding and sweet.

Pollination Group 4

 

FOULDEN PEARMAIN Introduced in 1818 by George Lindley having arisen in the garden of Mrs Horrex of Foulden, Norfolk. It was in the London Horticultural Society collection in 1826. A dual purpose, medium sized oblong apple. Lindley describes it as having skin of pale yellow with a little blush on the sunny side, especially towards the base. The flesh is greenish white, firm, crisp and with plentiful juice, brisk and of a very high flavour. Late season. Our thanks to John and Helen Hempsall for sending scion-wood.

Pollination Group 3

 

FOULKES’ FOREMOST A middle season dessert apple, the seed of which was sown in 1938 by Mr F. Foulkes of Headington, Oxford. The apple is large, slightly flattened-round and occasionally conical, with slight ribs. The skin is yellow green with a brownish red flush and dull red streaks. The flesh is firm and juicy and the flavour sweet and sub-acid. Ripe in early-mid September. Attractive rose pink blossom.

Pollination Group 3

 
             

 

FOXWHELP A cider apple, first mentioned by Evelyn in his Pomona in 1664 and second in popularity only to the Redstreak. Though long considered a Herefordshire apple, the earliest record from Evelyn’s Pomona suggests it was originally a Gloucestershire apple that spread to Herefordshire. Hogg records that by 1727 the Fox-Whelp was greatly valued and apparently more famous that the Redstreak, and cider made from it was deemed of equal value to French wine; thought to improve with age. A small to medium sized apple, rounded and ribbed, often conical, ending in ridges at the eye. In the shade it is yellow, but prettily striped and flushed in the sun, with crimson. The flesh is quite sharp, sometimes tinted red, and aside from being a good cider ‘sharp’ it also makes good apple sauce. There have been several different ‘Foxwhelps’ produced over the centuries, but the original appears to have survived. Ripe in October and storing into January.

Pollination Group 3

 

 

FRANCATU Assumed to be a French apple, dating from 1536 when recorded by Ruel, and undergoing various name changes over the centuries. However, it was known in England very early, when Charles Cotton included it in ‘The Planters Manual’ of 1675 as Francatu. Switzer in 1731 in ‘The Practical Fruit-Gardener’ mentions francatuses as French apples. It was in the London Horticultural Society collection in 1826 and grown by Ronalds in 1831, but has not been heeded much since. It is in the National Collection here and in France. A medium sized, late season apple, rich green, broadly flushed with crimson and marbled and cracked with russet. The flavour is very rich, sweet and pleasantly acid in late October, keeping to January.

Pollination Group 5

 

 

 

 

 

FRENCH CRAB Grown in England since the 1700s. A top quality cooking apple, with dark green skin, which cooks to a full flavoured stiff purée. Forsyth, writing at the beginning of the 19th century called it a first rate dessert, when fully ripe. Once known as ‘Old Ironsides’, or ‘The Two Year Apple’, because of its exceptional storing qualities. It has also been used for cider. Vigorous trees with good crops. In the 19th century it was assumed the same as Winter Greening – and Hogg thought Winter Greening the earlier and correct name – but the full history suggests they are distinct apples. We also have the Winter Greening of Joy Midwinter (see later). We believe French Crab is not the same as Winter Greening and we revert to its former name of French Crab. A heavy, hard, medium sized apple that only reveals its true quality after storage.

Pollination Group 5