BLACKJACK Known as early as 1818, but last recorded in 1934. It has been ‘missing’ since. In 2010 Chris and Rebecca Paul told us of their Blackjack tree at their 1730 house at Dunsfold, Surrey, close to the Sussex border. Blackjack has been associated with both counties in the past. The name was given to them by the prior owner who moved there before 1967. The tree is very old and decayed and now much smaller than once known but remains healthy, the sole survivor of an orchard that once ran around the property. The dark red apples are small to large, very hard initially and 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. It also has some history of use in cider.
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

BLACK PRINCE A 100+ year old tree of Black Prince was found in 2004, near Wokingham, Berkshire. The owner, Mrs Stickland, was told some 45 years before, by her neighbour, that the tree was a rare old variety called Black Prince. A very old cider variety of this name was known. Having carefully maintained the tree over the years, she planned to move and a conscientious property developer, Stan Hetherington, anxious that the tree should not be lost, sought our advice. A middle season dessert apple of deep red, with carmine extending, in patches, deep into the flesh of the apple. It is sweet and pleasant, but the flavour and texture do not last. *

Pollination Group 4

 

 

BLENHEIM ORANGE A late culinary and dessert apple discovered around 1740 in Woodstock, by the local cobbler (some say tailor), George Kempster, growing against a boundary wall at Blenheim Park. He moved it to his garden, where it became locally famous. It was originally named Kempster's Pippin. The Duke of Marlborough at Blenheim Palace approved of the apple and it was renamed Blenheim Orange in 1804. It was widely grown in the nineteenth century, both in Britain and abroad, and was one of the most valued dessert apples. Blenheims are seldom available in the shops today, but remain popular with amateur growers and trees are often found in old gardens. The fruit has a delicious, sweet, nutty flavour and a firm, rather than crisp, texture; good with cheese. Also used for cooking, it has a good flavour and keeps its shape. It is a partially tip bearing tree. It makes an excellent standard tree, but for espaliers it is worth considering Beauty of Hants which is very similar, though more spur bearing. Fruit stores until January. It can be slow to start fruiting, but is vigorous and eventually a good bearer. T.

Pollination Group 4

 

 

BLOOD ROYAL From Gloucestershire. Said locally to be triple purpose but probably better as a cider apple and for dessert. It is an attractive, small/medium sized, flattened round apple, with dark red and pale spots over most of the skin. Before ripe, the flesh is quite hard and sharp but by mid-November it is crisp, yielding, juicy, fairly sweet and well flavoured. When cooked it is resistant to softening, keeps its shape and does not compete with better cooking apples. Stores until December.

Pollination Group 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLOODY PLOUGHMAN A Scottish dessert apple from Perthshire, introduced in 1883 and very hardy. Supposedly named after a ploughman who was shot for stealing a bag of apples; his wife threw the bag on to the compost heap, and one grew into this tree. Deep red, sweet, juicy fruit, heavily ribbed. Pick in September and store until November.

Pollination Group 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
             

 

BLUE PEARMAIN An American dual purpose apple, known before 1800, but with no clear history. It was widely planted in New England, according to Scott, but not particularly suited to the southern states, according to Calhoun. Since at least the start of the 20th century it has been grown in Britain in the West Country, and may have a much earlier domestic history. Scott claimed to have introduced it from America before 1872, but as with some of his claimed introductions, earlier records show it arrived before. The fruit is medium sized – sometimes large - with yellow skin, mainly or wholly covered with dull crimson and heavily bloomed with blue-white, when young, hence its name. The shape is round and regular, longish and often becoming conical. Scott describes the flesh as yellowish, with juice plentiful and a mild, rich, aromatic flavour. It is ripe in October and stores to February. Quite a handsome apple.

Pollination Group 4

 

BOHNAPFEL It was first known in the later 18th century, in the German Rhineland and had arrived in Britain by 1826, when it was in the London Horticultural Society collection. A late season, large apple, used for cooking, dessert, cider and drying. When cooked it produces a tangy purée. The shape is variable from tall to truncate conic, ribbed at the eye and sometimes on the body. The skin is greenish yellow with an orange brown flush and stripes. The sweet, subacid flesh is firm. Ripe in October, it stores to March. Trees have an upright habit. T.

Pollination Group 4

 

 

 

 

 

BOSSOM An old Sussex variety, probably from the Petworth Estate, and first recorded in 1820, when exhibited by them. It was in the London Horticultural Society collection catalogue of 1826. In the 1842 catalogue it was briefly described as yellow, conical, large, of kitchen use and middle quality, in season from December to January. Lindley and Hogg considered it a culinary apple (though the Apple and Pear Conference of 1934 recorded it as a dessert apple) - large and conical, with green-yellow skin, sometimes russeted and sometimes with a bright red blush. The flesh was described as fine, crisp, juicy and sugary. It was said to assume a fine colour, when baked, and is said to melt perfectly. In 1946 Taylor reported that it was often found in Surrey, but it was assumed ‘lost’ until rediscovered by Canon Donald Johnson, of Chichester, a few years ago. He kindly sent us some scion-wood. It is ripe in October and will store to January. T*.

Pollination Group 4

 
             

 

BOSTON RUSSET Also called Roxbury Russet. It is the earliest known American apple, said to have originated at the start of the 17th century, at Roxbury, Massachusetts, at the time of the arrival of the Pilgrim Fathers. It is possibly an English ‘export’. Putnam's nursery in Ohio distributed it in the late eighteenth century. Once the most popular russet in America, it is a sweet, aromatic fruit with firm flesh. Hogg called it ‘an immense bearer’. It stores until March and is good for espaliers and cordons, being very free spurring. T.

Pollination Group 4

 

 

BRABANT BELLEFLEUR A famous Flemish or Dutch cooking apple known since the late eighteenth century, and sent to the London Horticultural Society before 1826, by a nursery in Hamburg. It has long been grown in Herefordshire, Wiltshire, Surrey and Kent, among others. An attractive apple of green/lemon yellow, boldly striped with rich red. The crisp, juicy, initially sharp flesh has an intense flavour, is sweet and aromatic and keeps its shape when cooked. Late flowering and late into leaf. Good Crops. It has also been used for cider. Ripe in late October or November, storing until April.

Pollination Group 7

 

 

BRADDICK'S NONPAREIL Sometimes known as Braddick Nonpareil or the Ditton Nonpareil. Raised by Mr Braddick of Thames Ditton around 1800, it soon became known as a first rate dessert apple which could be used all winter until March. The crisp, juicy flesh is intensely flavoured, sweet, and tangy. The trees have modest growth and were once popular as an espalier edging for beds, as they readily form fruiting spurs. Apples have also been used for cider. Small to medium sized green apples with some russet and a warm blush. Good crops. T*.

Pollination Group 4