Bernwode Fruit Trees – delicious for your garden
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How many apple varieties can you name? I got stuck at six. Well, if you pop along to Bernwode Fruit Trees just outside Ludgershall, Bucks, they have…ooh, around 1000 varieties for you to choose from.
I love the nostalgia associated with this fruit centre, and their wonderful ethos of collecting, conserving, growing and selling traditional British fruit trees, many of which are dying away as gardens are redeveloped, or simply not accepted in the supermarkets that seem to have a love-in with a certain Pink Lady.
Bernwode Fruit Trees is in glorious rural Bucks countryside on bumpy roads that have not seen tarmac roller or workman’s bum in years. There’s nothing much to look at when you get there – no tea rooms, or clever marketing stuff. Just lots and lots of trees, looking a bit scruffy like saplings do, and possibly the most informed advice you’ll ever get about planting and caring for fruit trees.
Aside from apple trees, they also sell pear, cherry (above), quince, raspberry, vines, nectarine, peach, mulberry, medlar (no, I didn’t know what it was either) walnut, and gooseberry trees, plus a whole heap of others. I bought a yellow raspberry bush for a princely £7.50 – didn’t know they existed, but apparently they do, fact fans, and the fruit is even better than the red, not least because birds can’t see it to pinch it off the bush. Who knew?!
It’s a good idea to buy the catalogue online for a few quid as a starting point. It describes each fruit variety in depth so you can decide what you want but then I’d recommend having a proper chat with the owners. Bernwode is officially closed in June and July but if you call in advance they’re happy for you to come up, as they’re usually onsite anyway. Choose what you want now, buy in September when the organically grown trees have grown a little, and then plant for a fruitful Summer 2013.