Gardening in the South-eastern corner of England has it’s advantages and one of these is, the ability to grow some more exotic fruit varieties, peaches, grapes and even figs grow and crop well, here are few mouth watering selections to consider.
Peach Rochester: One of the best varieties for out sided growth, growing best against a warm wall, as a fan, in full sun. It has some resistance to peach leaf curl. Ripening late August, with good medium sized fruit yellow streaked red and sweet yellow flesh.
Grape vitis brandt: Ideal for out door growth, very hardy, vigorous grower. To train up a up a large pergola or wall. Good disease and mould resistance. Crops reliably with good dark sweet fruit held in compact bunches towards the end of October. Dual-purpose grape, great for the table or to make wine. Good autumn colour is an added bonus.
Apricot Moor Park: a very good out door variety, grow up a warm sunny wall, in full sun as either a fan or an espalier. Apricots are easy to grow and relatively problem free. They do blossom very early though mid-Feb to mid- March, so may well need some protection from frost, with fleece. This variety is a vigorous grower. It produces sweet golden yellow to orange fruit blushed red. With apricot coloured flesh with a delicate sweet flavour. Good for cooking, bottling or just enjoying straight from the tree.
Kiwi Fruit ‘jenny Kiwi’: Otherwise known by their older and to my mind more elegant name the Chinese Gooseberry. This is a twinning climber, so a large warm wall or sturdy pergola is needed. Jenny Kiwi is a relatively new variety and the good news is that it is self-fertile. It needs a good sunny position in good moist humus rich soil to do well and fruit. It has rose scented flowers in mid summer and on good hot years should fruit mid-autumn.
Nectarine Lord Napier: Everything you ,love about a peach, but with out the furry skin, probably best describes a nectarine. Grows best on a warm sunny wall. Some residence to peach leaf curl. Ripens early august, with orange flushed red shiny skinned fruit, with a golden yellow flesh, a sweet and juicy fruit.
Fig Brown Turkey: This is one of the hardiest figs to grow outside, it is an old favourite and tried and tested. With large fruit, that when semi-ripe and still a little green, make a great addition to a salad, when fully dark brown and soft, are beautifully sweet, eaten straight from the tree, or for jam or ice-cream making. A fig is very easy to grow, it dose best on a warm to hot wall in full sun, the soil needs to be as poor as possible (think Mt. Ararat) A fig will produce 3 crops in a season given a chance, this of course does not work in an English climate, so make sure all late fruit and baby fruit are knock off the tree after the end of November, to encourage, figs to develop early in the season so they can ripen in a short English summer.
All of these fruits are worth the effort and not that difficult to grow, except perhaps dealing with the dreaded peach leaf cruel, then you just have to decide how much effort you are prepared to put in for the sweet juicy final lip smacking result!
I hope I have inspired you to get ordering your own exotic fruit, ready for planting in the autumn. Then this time next year, you could be getting ready to enjoy the fruits of your labours.