The peach blossom has just started to open in the polytunnel where we have a mystery peach tree. I have no idea what variety it is – it certainly is not the sort that I bought, as the fruit is quite different and ripens at the wrong time of year, and, given that there are few interesting old sorts offered, I guess it is a fairly modern variety. I have left it in place for now because it is vigorous – in fact, a little too vigorous for where it is planted and the manner of its training, healthy so far, and produces a good crop. The blossom has just started to open on the west facing side of the tree and the rest will follow over the course of the next couple of weeks. So, it is time, once again, to tickle the peaches: I use a soft paint brush, of the kind one would use for watercolour painting, to gently hand pollinate the flowers, as, even with several bee hives on the site, there are not many pollinators around at this time of year.
The glasshouse trees have just a couple of flowers open so will be a week or so behind the polytunnel. The apricots are even further behind, although we have good signs of bud development on the young Bredase tree, which looks as though it may fruit for the first time this year. This tree is growing at the back of the polytunnel, where it is being fan trained and currently has six robust ribs in place and an array of short lengths of fruiting wood coming, for the most part, from the first two ribs that formed the initial ‘Y’ shape. Bredase is possibly the oldest of known apricot cultivars so I will be most interested to sample its fruit. The tree was rather flimsy when it first arrived, and I was not impressed with the root stock, but it has since put on most robust growth and appears to be another healthy, vigorous sort. Even though it is young, I suspect it is more than capable of bearing a crop already.