Gall Wasp Preventative Treatment – ‘Overhaul’

Photo by NSW Department of Primary Industries

Finally we have a new preventative for the infuriating gall wasp that has been decimating our citrus, lemon trees in particular, across Victoria.

‘Overhaul’ is an organically* rated kaolin clay (used in papermaking and ceramics) and has been used in broad-acre agriculture to reduce heat stress and sunburn in tree and horticultural crops (e.g. tomatoes) for 18 years; in that time an unexpected secondary benefit has become apparent: the fine coating of clay resulted in less insect damage to crops. It is hypothesised that the clay works in a variety of way depending on the insect: repelling, reducing egg laying, impeding grasping, restricting movement, altering behaviour, inducing paralysis and mortality, and camouflaging the plant. Whichever way it works, trials by the NSW Dept. of Agriculture in the Riverland and Sunraysia have found it significantly reduces the incidence of galls (from Citrus Gall Wasp) in their citrus trees. Both number and size of galls are reduced (70-90%).

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Avocados

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

The avocado is a versatile and nutritious fruit that, apart from being the perfect baby food, is high in vitamin C, full of anti-oxidants, great for our skin and a good source of beneficial mono-unsaturated fats and folic acid. The avocado tree is a generous, shady evergreen tree that may be pruned as little or as much as you require.

Generally regarded as a fruit of more tropical climes, many varieties of avocado will do just fine in Melbourne, as long as the soil and drainage is just right. Click here to see Karen Sutherland explain how to grow avocados in Melbourne.
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Pomegranates

Pomegranates

photograph by James Lee at Unsplash

One of the oldest cultivated fruit trees in the world, the pomegranate has appeared in Greek mythology and hymns dating back to the 7th century BC – a feat not matched by any other berry or fruit. In fact, there are some schools of thought that suggest the pomegranate was in fact the ‘forbidden fruit’ in the Bible, rather than the humble apple. Either way, the pomegranate is a backyard beauty, and a must have in your ‘Garden of Eden’.

The fruit of the pomegranate is incredibly attractive, but the real winner here is the fleshy seeds inside. Tart, citrusy and juicy, pomegranate seeds have suddenly become fashionable again and have appeared in dishes and desserts from Masterchef to Michelin starred restaurants.

Originating in Persia, and the Middle East, the cultivated pomegranate (Punica granatum) translates as ‘seeded apple’, but is in fact a true berry… and a tough one at that. A deciduous shrubby tree growing to around 3-5m x 4m, Pomegranates have an attractive, somewhat shrubby habit. They will tolerate a range of soils from loam to clay (good news for us in the Melbourne area). They are easy to grow and produce fruit in around 2 years. Rarely grows over 3m in clay soils.

Plant your pomegranate in a warm, sunny spot where you can enjoy the glossy spring / summer foliage as it changes from red to apple green with the seasons. As long as it is protected from spring frosts it should be fairly trouble-free.

Pomegranates can survive droughts, but will not successfully fruit. To ensure good fruiting adequate irrigation throughout spring, summer and autumn is needed.

photograph by Arjun Kapoor at Unsplash

Don’t be afraid to prune your pomegranates. This is best done over winter. The idea is to clear out the middle of the tree a bit to prevent over-crowding. Remember that pomegranates bear their fruit on mature wood, so don’t go too silly with the secateurs.

Pomegranates are ready to harvest in autumn to winter, and the secret here is to grab the biggest, brightest fruits first. If picked at the right time, pomegranates can be stored successfully for a couple of months in a dark, cool place or the fridge.

Variety is the spice of life, so, if you are in the hunt for some delicious pomegranates, try these out for size:

Wonderful – Possibly the most popular pomegranate in the world. Beautiful, medium to large, deep red fruit is borne on a vigourous, attractive tree. The seeds are juicy, sweet, fragrant, and perfect for juicing, eating fresh, and in recipes.

Gulosha azerbaijani – Unattractive fruit, but the flavour of the seeds is something else. This variety produces medium to large sized, slightly elongated fruit with a pinkish hue, but the internal seeds are deep red, large and very juicy and the sweetest one out there. Matures early in the peak pomegranate season.

Gulosha rosavaya – From Russia with love comes this perfect pomegranate – light pink, large sized fruit bears masses of sweet, juicy, slightly acidic seeds that are exceptional. A pomegranate known for its exceptional flavour. It has fragile skin, bruises easily, so pick carefully. For this reason – you wont see them in the fruit shops.

photograph by Melissa Kasapoglu at Unsplash

Elche – Spain’s most widely grown variety. Elche produces lovely pink fruit with soft seeds bursting with flavour and juice. Also known to be high in antioxidants. May not be as cold tolerant as other varieties, but will do well in a warmer spot. particularly ornamental tree.

Angel Red – Attractive fruit with bright red skin, bright red arils, very juicy and soft seeded. Excellent for juicing and a very generous cropper.

Ben Hur – Purporting to grow fruit to 1.5kg, Ben Hur is a newer variety of Australian bred pomegranate with fruit resembling cricket balls. Grown specifically for the home gardener, Ben Hur will grow in most climates and the seeds are juicy, sweet and flavoursome.

Cypress Hill – Orange/red flowers setting fruit which starts greenish with orange blush and turns orange/red when ripe. Flesh is bright red, well flavoured and slightly sharper in taste than some other varieties.

Shepard’s Special– Can be spelt Shepherd’s Special.
Bright red flowers setting very large orange fruit with a red blush. Cutting taken from a 200year old tree from a homestead owned by the Shepherd family on the Mornington peninsula. Very large fruit with the classically bright red flesh and sweet/tart flavour of the pomegranate. Mid season.

Spanish Dwarf
Hard to source and we only occasionally have it in the nursery. Easily grown in pots, very ornamental with the silky frilly orange late spring/summer flowers borne on the tips of the branches, followed by the fruit in autumn. Light flesh with dark pink seeds.

Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

Claire’s Hazelnut Tunnel

Four and a half years ago, while pregnant with my second child, my friends helped me dig over two long, south facing garden beds either side of a path. We removed running bamboo from my next-door neighbour, as well as other weeds, then we added manure, compost and zeolite to the heavy clay soil. We mounded up the beds to give better drainage.

Inspired by “The Nuttery” at Sissinghurst in the UK, my long, south facing fence was perfect to recreate this inspirational planting, although with less space than Harold Nicholson’s creation. My entire back garden is edible, except for some floral elements to attract pollinators and good bugs. So, finding edible plants that would do well in the shade was important to me. Hazelnuts are perfect.
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Looking after your brand new Jujube

Looking after your brand new Jujube

(Photograph by Bulleen Art & Garden)

Congratulations on finally getting your Jujube.

They were potted up in August this year from a washed bare root plant. The new roots are very young, very fine and easily damaged. I recommend you keep the plant/s in the pot until January to allow the roots to develop before you plant it. Each pot has had enough slow release fertiliser added to it to feed the plant for the next three months in the pot.

(Photograph by Bulleen Art & Garden)

Keep the potting mix just damp, not sodden and not dry. Jujubes like a sunny location.
Plant your jujube into a soil mixed with compost and manure. Half soil, half compost/manure mix. BEWARE: Rabbits love to eat every bit of this plant. If you have rabbits you will need to fence/protect it until it is too tall for the rabbits to reach the leaves.

The jujubes are grafted onto very vigorous root stock, remove any growth that may arise from below the graft. You may see it emerging from the soil – remove that also. You want only the grafted material to grow and do not want the plant putting energy into the rootstock material.

(Photograph by Bulleen Art & Garden)

Jujubes are what we call precocious fruiters. This means it fruits very early in life. It will try to fruit this year. I recommend you allow a couple of fruit to grow, just for fun, but remove the rest and allow the tree to focus all its energy into root and stem growth. It can fruit all it wants the following season. Fruit comes on slender twiggy branchlets which arise from nodes (cones) on the main branches. Every winter both leaves and branchlets fall off and you are left with the main structural branches, dotted with nodes.

This is a deciduous plant – it loses its leaves in autumn and is bare all winter. It is NOT dead, this is normal. It will leaf up again each spring – be patient – it is one of the later leafing plants – leaves come in October.

Cinnamon Myrtle

Cinnamon Myrtle

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

Backhousia myrtifolia

Cinnamon myrtle is a subtropical tree from Eastern Australia. In the wild it can grow to 30m, but in cultivation it could grow to 7m. It is possibly the hardiest of the three myrtles discussed here. It has highly ornamental star-shaped cream coloured flowers in summer. The essential oil found in cinnamon myrtle is elemicin, which is also found in common nutmeg. Cinnamon myrtle leaves do produce a cinnamon –like aroma when crushed.

Cultivation

In the wild it is found growing along watercourses and it therefore likes a moist soil. It will tolerate full sun to part shade, but as with the other two myrtles, it would be best to position it where it will get some afternoon shade in summer, or it may become stressed in the hot, dry conditions. Unlike the other two myrtles, it is tolerant of light frosts. Ensure good summer moisture. Cultivate the soil with organic compost before planting.

Preparing for use in the kitchen

For use in tea, the leaves can be used fresh. Most recipes call for dried, ground leaves. Pick the leaves and wash to remove any dirt. Then, if you have time, you can leave them in a warm, dry place to dry, or you can speed up the process up by using a food dehydrator or the oven on a low temperature setting. Once dry, you can use something like a coffee grinder to make the leaves into a fine powder.

Uses in the kitchen
Can be used instead of cinnamon in cakes, cookies, pies and tea and in Middle Eastern dishes. It can also be rubbed on the skin for use as an insect repellent.

Aniseed Myrtle

Aniseed Myrtle

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

Backhousia anisata syn. Syzygium anisatum

Aniseed Myrtle is a rare subtropical rainforest tree from northeastern NSW. In its natural habitat it grows to 45m, but in cultivation probably only to 10m, and can be clipped to 2-3m if necessary. It makes an excellent tub specimen that looks great if tip pruned regularly. It has white, scented flowers in spring.

Cultivation
Aniseed Myrtle will tolerate full sun to part shade, but as with Lemon Myrtle, is probably best with afternoon shade to withstand the dryer Melbourne summers. Ensure a consistent water supply and ensure good drainage. Cultivate the soil with some organic compost before planting, and fertilise twice a year with a slow release fertiliser. Make sure to add mulch around the plant, particularly over the summer months.

Preparing for use in the kitchen

For use in tea, the leaves can be used fresh. Most recipes call for dried, ground leaves. Pick the leaves and wash to remove any dirt. Then, if you have time, you can leave them in a warm, dry place to dry, or you can speed up the process up by using a food dehydrator or the oven on a low temperature setting. Once dry, you can use something like a coffee grinder to make the leaves into a fine powder.

Uses in the kitchen
Aniseed myrtle has both aniseed and liquorice flavours. It can be used to flavour biscuits, pasta, bread and cakes. Can be used instead of star anise. Aniseed myrtle also has antimicrobial properties.

Japanese Raisin Tree

Hovenia dulcis

An attractive up right tree, of variable height to around 10m. Showy white flowers in early summer with pleasant fragrance. Grown as an ornamental for its nice shape and striking glossy green leaves, but chiefly grown for its fascinating ‘fruit’.

The edible fruit is actually the swollen peduncles from which the true fruit (not eaten) hangs. These swollen fruit stalks (25-50% sugars – glucose/sucrose/fructose) are eaten fresh, cooked, or most commonly dried, when they look and taste very much like a raisin. Commonly describes as having a pear flavour with cinnamon and clove overtones. An extract of the seeds and young leaves is used as a honey substitute.

Once the tree starts fruiting it is prolific, but harvesting is labour intensive. Harvest is late summer to autumn. You won’t find these in supermarkets.

Seedlings will flower after 3 years, but will not set any useful fruit for another 3-6 years. Self-pollinating. Copes with frost, and almost any soil except waterlogged soil. Full sun to part shade. Surface roots are not problematic.

Walnuts

Walnuts

Photo © Gita Shojaee @ Unsplash

Juglans regia – English or Persian walnut
The Victorian climate, with its cool winters and warm summers, suits walnut trees. The long lived stately trees are drought tolerant with very few pests and diseases in Victoria, so they are a relatively trouble free tree to grow. However, they are a tree for the long haul, taking 4-6 years to produce a reasonable quantity of nuts, and 10-12 to swing into full production. If you only have space for one tree – plant Tulare as it is self pollinating. If you have space for more, then below are a few varieties to look at.
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Duo or Multi Fruit Tree Planting

Duo or Multi Fruit Tree Planting

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

Duo or multi planting is our preferred option (rather than double or multi grafting) when two or more trees are wanted in a small space. The resulting multi trunked, single canopy tree, is easy to manage and prune. You can radically increase the number and variety of fruit trees in your back-yard orchard with duo or multi planting. This allows you to enjoy a wider range of fruit over a much longer period.
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Tropical Fruit in Melbourne

Tropical Fruit in Melbourne

As summer approaches our taste buds tingle in anticipation of luscious mangoes and other tropical delights. What better than to grow your own? Don’t be put off by the fact that you live in Melbourne, it is possible to grow a range of tropical and subtropical fruit varieties down here. The key to success with tropical and subtropical fruit is finding or creating the right spot or microclimate in your garden that will provide a warm, frost-free environment for optimal growth, flowering and fruiting, as well as providing a well-drained but moist soil. There is nothing quite like the taste and smell of ripening tropical fruit in summer, why not give it a try?

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Davidson’s Plum

Davidson’s Plum

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

The deep dark purple fruits contain a soft juicy vibrant dark red flesh with a sharp acidity. The Australian Native Flavour Wheel describes the aroma as earthy like fresh beetroot with slight pickled notes. Rarely used as a fresh fruit due to the intense acid and low sugar content, instead the fruit is wonderful added to yoghurt, jams, sauces and drinks.

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Freckle, Black Spot or Scab on Apricots, Peaches, Nectarines and Plums

Freckle, Black Spot or Scab on Apricots, Peaches, Nectarines and Plums

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

This is a fungal issue affecting stone fruit. It is seen as small dark spots on immature fruit, becoming round brown freckles, sometimes scabby, on mature fruit. It is often just cosmetic and the fruit is perfectly fine to eat, however it become so dense that the fruit is rotten or shrivels and falls off. It is mostly apparent towards the end of the season, as the fruits swell and ripen. At this stage it is too late to do anything about your current crop. However, there is plenty to do to avoid future problems.
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Gummosis (Bacterial Canker) in Apricots

Gummosis (Bacterial Canker) in Apricots

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

This disease has become almost endemic in apricot trees across Melbourne. It is now a disease that we need to prevent, live with, and manage. Gummosis is identified by the gum or sap that oozes from a wound in the bark of the tree. The wound can be from splitting during a rapid growth phase, physical damage from whipper snipper, mower or other accidental damage, or from boring type of insects.

When you first notice the oozing sap, look carefully to see if there is any frass or sawdust in the ooze. If there is, then you have a boring insect causing the damage. Insects tend to attack trees which are already stressed, so it helps to increase the vigour of your tree with a good watering and fertilising regime. Make sure it has good drainage and optimal pH.

Gummosis is a bacterial infection, so while spraying with a fungicide might make you feel proactive, but it is unlikely to solve your problem. The better approach is to start with good hygiene and clean up all fallen leaves and plant material on the ground. Trees are at their most susceptible as they are coming out of dormancy – do not prune over this time. You should always prune apricots in the warmer months (NOT in winter). This allows for a more rapid sealing of the pruning wound and reduces the opportunity for the bacteria to gain an access point to your tree. Only prune when the weather is dry. When pruning you should always disinfect your secateurs frequently during the process. A small spray bottle of methylated spirits will do the job. Make sure your secateurs are sharp to prevent any tearing and pulling.

Feed your apricot with a fertiliser high in potassium and phosphorus to encourage flowering and healthy growth. A good N:P:K ratio is 6:3:9. Fertilise in late winter, again in mid spring and lastly in mid summer if needed. Avoid feeding in late summer and autumn, as you do not want a lot of soft sappy new growth going into winter. This takes longer to harden off and is more susceptible to bacterial infection.

Promote good vigour in your tree by keeping the pH slightly alkaline. In this area (Manningham), the natural pH is neutral to slightly acidic, so an application of lime is a good idea. Fertilise regularly and water well, but ensure your tree is never sitting in water or is overly damp. Good drainage is important for apricots.

Apricots are prolific early bearers and a heavy load of fruit on young sappy branches can lead to splitting, especially in the branch crutches. You can thin the fruit, cut the branches shorter, prop up the branches or tie up the branches with broad soft ties. Splitting allows the bacteria an entry point – and is to be avoided whenever possible.

Gummosis will eventually shorten the life of your apricot tree, but in the meantime, you can live with it and still have a very productive tree for many years.

Macadamia

Macadamia

Macadamia nuts are one of the few Australian ‘bush foods’ that have found success as a commercial food crop right around the world. These nuts have an amazing sweet, subtle buttery flavour with a soft, smooth, crunchy texture and are one of the most versatile nuts, they can be eaten raw or roasted, and added to a wide variety of recipes.

Macadamias are lovely small trees that produce highly ornamental flower displays and then of course a densely nutritious and flavoursome nut. Macadamias will grow and produce nuts in Melbourne, they just won’t grow as tall as they would in the northern states, and they will grow in most soil types as long as the soil is well drained – they dislike waterlogged soils.
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Coffee

Coffee

Coffea arabica is a pretty shrub or tree with evergreen shiny leaves and sweet jasmine scented white flowers followed by green fruits ripening to red (can also be yellow or purple when mature). The outer layer is edible, soft and sweet/tart tasting. The inner seed is encased in a hard outer layer which needs to be removed by milling. The seed is the well-known and well-loved coffee bean. In its raw state it is generally a fawn colour and only achieves the dark colour once roasted.
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Feeding Avocados in Melbourne

Feeding Avocados in Melbourne

Photo © Joachim Huber (Wiki Commons)

Cold tolerant avocados grow well in Melbourne, provided they have a warm sunny position with well-drained soil, a good layer of mulch over the soil and protection from frosts when they’re young. Once you’ve planted up your avocado, you have to feed it regularly to get it growing and eventually fruiting productively (within two to three years of planting for grafted varieties).
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Illawarra Plum

An ancient tree originating 245 million years ago, Podocarpus elatus has been around since the dinosaur age and is from the same family as pine trees. It occurs naturally in subtropical rainforests of NSW and QLD, and as far south as the Victorian border. In the wild, the tree can grow to 36m tall and has a spreading crown, which makes it perfect as a shade tree. It is often used as a street tree in parts of Australia such as Adelaide. When planted in gardens it does not get as tall, reaching approximately 10m.

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Jaboticaba

Jaboticaba

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

If you are looking for a beautiful tree with delicious fruit to bring a wow factor to your garden then look no further than the Jaboticaba. The Jaboticaba (Myrciaria cauliflora) is a slow growing tree native to Brazil and surrounding countries. Jaboticabas are a striking ornamental tree with fine leaves, attractive bark and honey scented flowers. However, their most exciting feature is the grape-like fruit which grow directly on the trunk. This unique feature makes it an attractive and unusual feature in any garden.
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Black Sapote

Black Sapote

Black Sapote Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

The Black Sapote (Diospyros digyna) is an evergreen fruiting tree, related to the persimmon and native to Central America. Known as the chocolate pudding fruit, this tree produces masses of large green fruit which when ripe are soft and taste like chocolate pudding. The fruit are delicious eaten fresh or mixed with ice cream. The tree, which has glossy green leaves, will require a warm sunny position with protection from frosts in order to grow in Melbourne. Avoid exposure to westerly sun as it can burn the leaves and keep well watered in summer. The Black Sapote can tolerate a wide range of soil but will prefer a well drained, nutrient rich soil to thrive.
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Brazilian Cherry

Brazilian Cherry

Brazilian cherry, pitanga, cayenne cherry or suriname cherry; whatever name you call this fruit, there is no denying that it is a highly ornamental plant with an unusual and interesting edible fruit. The tree itself can grow up to 7m and has small densely packed aromatic leaves with a reddish coloured new growth. Very quickly following flowering the unusual ‘lantern-like’ fruit appear which turn from green to bright red as they ripen. Usually harvested in Feb-May, the fruit’s taste can very from sweet to tangy and almost sour depending on the ripeness. They can be eaten out-of-hand or be preserved in jams and jellies, and it’s said that refrigeration can enhance the flavour.

While it is fairly tolerant of cold temperatures once established, the Brazilian cherry will grow best in a warm, sunny and sheltered location free from frost.

It can tolerate a wide variety of soils and is fairly drought tolerant once established.
Brazilian cherry trees are available during the warmer months of the year from Bulleen Art and Garden.

Miracle Fruit

Synsepalum dulcificum

It’s a Miracle, a fruit that can change sour foods to sweet! Such are the incredible properties of the miracle fruit. The miracle fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum) is a small shrub originating from West Africa, and was discovered by Europeans in 1725, when the explorer Chevalier des Marchais came across it on a botanical expedition in tropical West Africa.

The small red berry, which in itself is fairly tasteless, contains an active ingredient called Miraculin which when chewed makes sour food taste sweet. Having tasted the berries for myself while studying in the U.S, I can assure you that it does exactly that. After eating the berries, lemons taste like the sweetest orange you’ve ever had, beer tastes like cordial, and even vinegar tastes sweet!
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Feijoa

Feijoa

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

I remember tasting my first Feijoa when one of the guys at University brought a bag of them on a class field trip. I was dazzled by these delicious little fruits and I can tell you that the bag of them did not last long! Feijoas, also known as Pineapple Guavas or Guavasteen, are native to Southern Brazil and Northern Argentina. You could be forgiven for assuming they are also native to New Zealand due to the way they are commercially grown there in the cool climate.
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Dragon Fruit (Pitaya)

Dragon Fruit (Pitaya)

These are a member of the cactus family and, like so many cacti, have spectacular flowers. In this case the flowers are followed by equally spectacular fruits. The fruits are so amazing to look at that the flavour, whilst very pleasant, doesn’t really live up to the glamour of the appearance. The flesh is firm and crisp with a delicate sweet flavour, reminiscent of a melon or kiwi fruit. Interestingly, the less exotic yellow dragon fruit (more below) has the best flavour.
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White Sapote

White Sapote

Casimiroa edulis

White Sapote is native to the highlands of central Mexico and Central America. The flesh is deliciously sweet with a custard like texture. Very thin skin (it bruises easily) and a round/oval shape. Very high in sugars and low in acids. Generally eaten fresh, but also used in desserts, smoothies or milkshakes. The fruit tastes best when tree ripened, but often falls first. Clip fruit from tree when ripe or nearly ripe leaving a small piece of stem attached. This stem will fall off when the fruit is ripe. Ripen at room temperature and when ripe will keep up to 10 days in the refrigerator. Handle very gently to avoid bruising. The fruit is not very suitable for supermarket delivery processes, so if you want it, best to grow your own.
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Nashi (or Asian) Pears

Nashi (or Asian) Pears

Nashi or Asian Pears (Pyrus pyrifolia) are native to China, Japan & Korea and date from about the 16th Century. They have been produced commercially in Australia for about 25 years.

Nashi Pears are more round like an apple, rather than European varieties that are a true pear shape. The fruit has brown, white or yellow skin and is very juicy, crisp and rather grainy compared to the smoother, softer more buttery flesh of European pears. Asian Pears are ripe when firm & have a sweet smelling aroma. They store very well in the fridge.

Nashi Pears are very high in fibre, a good source of Antioxidants, Vitamin C, Folate and Potassium. They are excellent in salads and stir-fries, a delicious accompaniment to a cheese platter and crisp little beauties for the lunch box. They will generally fruit within 2 to 3 years of planting.
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Grumichama

Eugenia brasilensis Syn: Eugenia dombeyi, Myrtus dombeyi

Grumichama, also called Brazil Cherry and Spanish Cherry, is a slow growing attractive tree with dark green glossy leaves growing up to 3-5 metres in height at maturity. After a beautiful floral display, the cherry like fruit will be produced on long stems. The fruit will turn from green to red and then ultimately to black when ripe. The flesh is white with a single seed in the middle, with a taste reminiscent of cherry and grape.

Grumichama can tolerate a variety of soil types, but will perform best in a well drained slightly acidic soil. As it is a subtropical plant, it prefers a warm part-shade to full sun position with protection from frosts when young. It does best in a spot which is protected from frosts as well as hot western sun. Minimal pruning is required, only to shape the tree and to keep it to a desired height. Additionally, there are very few pest or disease problems associated with this tree. Grumichama trees can be purchased here at BAAG during the warmer months of the year.

Pecans

Pecans

Photo by Joe Hakim from Wiki Commons

A beautiful deciduous tree that has the advantage of producing one of the worlds most popular nuts. Tall and spreading with deep roots, pecan trees need a significant amount of room to grow. They are able to tolerate most Victorian winter conditions, but have no tolerance for water logging or saline conditions, and need a sunny location.  A neutral to slightly acidic soil is ideal. Pests and diseases are rarely a problem in Australia.
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Chestnuts

Chestnuts

Chestnuts are lovely roasted on an open fire (or so the song tells us) but not everyone’s idea of a great backyard tree. Before you plant a chestnut, it is important to plan your garden first. Chestnuts can, over time, reach a whopping 20m tall, and about the same width, and remember, it takes two trees to make nuts!

Soil-wise, chestnuts adore a lovely deep, rich soil, full of compost. They like it slightly acidic, so check your pH before planting them in late winter to early spring. Keep the water up to chesnuts, they are thirsty trees, and irregular watering will see them decline rapidly, especially over the first couple of years.

Chestnuts don’t need too much love, give them a prune to remove lower branches as they are maturing and remove any dodgy looking ones over time. Food wise, compost is fine, so top this up annually, and all will be well.  Check out these chestnuts you may find at BAAG:

Chestnut – Fleming’s Prolific: Quality, medium / large sized, light brown, flavoursome nut. Prolific bearer.  Late March. Roasting and cooking. A beautiful ornamental tree. Will cross-pollinate with any other chestnut variety.

Chestnut – Fleming’s Special: Excellent quality, flavoursome, medium-to-large brown nuts with a stripe. Reliable cropper. April. Roasting and cooking. Will cross-pollinate with any other chestnut variety.

Almonds

Almonds

photograph by Jo Morales at Unsplash

Almonds are fantastic, not just to eat, but also as a pretty deciduous shade tree, bursting into pink to white flowers at the tail end of winter.  Many varieties of almonds are grafted, or exhibit dwarfing properties which limits their size to a manageable 5m x 3m, which means they will easily fit into many suburban backyards.

Pick a nice, sunny spot in your patch, leaving enough room for the tree to spread out when it reaches maturity.  The secret to success with almonds is water and drainage, so, if you live in an area with a heavy clay soil, incorporate some gypsum and compost into the planting hole, or consider planting the almond in a raised or mounded soil.

Water is vital, so try to keep the soil moist, but not sodden, at all times.  This is especially important while the almond is fruiting, as drying out during this period means the nuts may shrink and shrivel.

Almonds bear fruit similarly to apricots on sprigs and spurs. They do not require much pruning from year to year. Prune after leaf fall and in the first year select framework branches and prune lightly – removing some of the centre branches and twigs and pruning to an outward facing bud. This opens up the tree into the classic vase shape, improving air and light penetration (helps minimise pests and diseases). Commercial growers of almonds prune off one main lateral branch each year on mature trees to encourage greater vigour.

If you are umming and ahhing over almonds, take a look at this handy list and our notes on this nut:

Please note that varieties listed are a guide only. We may not have stock at all times of the year. Please call to confirm on 8850 3030 before coming to BAAG.

Almond – All-in-One:  Soft-shelled/papershell, medium to large, sweet flavourful nuts. Reliable and heavy cropper. Semi-dwarf tree. An excellent choice for the home gardener. Self pollinating. Crops around late January. Eat fresh or for blanching, roasting, confectionery and cooking. Self-pollinating.

Almond – Chellaston: Soft shelled, small / medium, flavoursome, mid – dark brown skin and smooth, shiny shell. Medium vigour.  Mid-season    Fresh or for blanching, roasting, confectionery and cooking. Cross pollinators:Johnston’s Prolific, Ne Plus Ultra, Brandes Jordan.

Almond – Johnston’s Prolific: Biennial cropper. Large broad almonds, rough surface, good flavour. Nuts are easily hulled.  Late season. Fresh or for blanching, roasting, confectionery and cooking.    Cross pollinators: Chellaston, I.X.L.

Almond – Large Papershell: Soft shell, large, sweet, flavourful nut. Fresh, blanched, roasted, confectionery and cooking.

Almond – Ne Plus Ultra: Large, narrow, square based, rough surface, flavourful nut. Papershell. Heavy cropper. Late Season.    Fresh or for blanching, roasting, confectionery and cooking. Cross pollinators: Chellaston, Californian or Nonpareil.

Almond – Self Pollinating: Sweet, flavourful nuts, soft shelled. Heavy cropper. Sets fruit early. Fresh or for blanching, roasting, confectionery and cooking. Self-pollinating.

Medlar

Mespilus germanica

Medlars are an ancient tree native to Southwestern Asia and Southern Europe. It is a beautiful, deciduous, slow growling tree reaching 6m with striking autumn colours. However it is the fruit which makes this tree really interesting.
The fruit which form in March resemble a very large rosehip in appearance and are a rusty colour.

The flavour of the fruit seems to polarize, having been described as everything from “eatable but not edible” to “the best fruit you’ve never tasted”… and everything in between. What is clear is that the taste is not for everyone.
The fruit are astringent when hard and must be stored until it is bletted (half rotten) before it can be eaten.
The tree itself is tough and can tolerate a wide range of soils as well as both cold, heat and drought once established. They prefer a full sun position within a garden.

Medlars are generally available here at BAAG during winter as bare root trees.

Mountain Pepper

Mountain Pepper

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

Tasmannia lanceolata
This lovely example of a bush food plant occurs naturally in the cool, temperate rainforest areas of Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales. Also known as Native Pepper, Mountain Pepper is a tall, evergreen shrub or small tree. It grows to between three and five metres, and up to ten metres in native habitats. It has distinctive reddish branches and smooth, narrow green leaves. Its creamy flowers appear in small clusters in September, followed by dark red berries that turn black when ripe in around March or April. The leaves have a hot flavour when chewed, and the berries are enjoyed by native birds. Mountain Pepper was used by indigenous tribes along the east coast of Australia as medicine and also a cooking spice. In the kitchen both the leaves and berries can be used to spice up numerous dishes.
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Planting Guide – the ‘how’ and ‘when’

Planting Guide – the ‘how’ and ‘when’

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden
When it comes to planting good timing helps, but life goes on if you miss it. There are quite a few good horticultural reasons for planting trees, shrubs and perennials in autumn or winter; however life has a habit of ruining all the best laid plans. Plants are unavailable, you simply don’t have time, holidays are scheduled to suit school dates etc. I am often asked in the nursery if it is OK to plant in summer. My answer is that we keep plants alive in the nursery; you can do so at home, it is simply a commitment you make. Sometimes the plant you want isn’t released for sale until the warmer months, so you may have little option.
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Bananas

Bananas

Photo courtesy St Bernadette's Primary School, Ivanhoe

We have a range of varieties suited to Melbourne’s cooler climate including Goldfinger, Ducasse, Dwarf Red Dacca, Lady Finger, Valery, Rajapuri and Dwarf Cavendish (all while stocks last). As soon as the worst of the summer heat is over plant them in a warm micro-climate with plenty of time for them to establish themselves before winter. Due to the seasonal nature of Bananas we only have stock from December/January until April. Read on for planting, growing, harvesting and cool-climate variety info.

For those of you wondering how well bananas can grow in Melbourne, these pictures were all taken at St Bernadette’s Primary School in Ivanhoe. They are rightfully very proud of their bumper banana crop!

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Jujube Trees (Chinese Date – Hong Zao)

Jujube Trees (Chinese Date – Hong Zao)

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

UPDATE: 2019 – Jujubes will be on the bench and for sale in the nursery for sale on Saturday November 23. We are no longer reserving or holding jujube plants for people.

Please note, we cannot fill our local demand and do not currently post plants. We only deliver to nearby suburbs in Melbourne. This may change in the future, as we realise there is great demand across Australia for these plants. I will update this page if we are able to post plants. We are working to try and find a cost effective solution.

We are all very excited to finally have some jujube (Zizyphus jujuba) or Chinese red date trees to sell at BAAG. For me, thinking of this fruit brings back childhood memories eating them at Chinese restaurants in desserts such as “Eight Treasure Rice” when only the dried fruit were available and they were little known outside of the Chinese community.  It has been hard to get jujube trees in the past in Australia, but now that they are being grown at a small number of propagation nurseries here, they are starting to become more available.
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Currants

Currants

(Photograph by Bulleen Art & Garden)
Currants are small deciduous bushes with origins in cool European lands, where they thrived as forest edge plants, and later as domesticated varieties planted in gardens and hedgerows for their 5mm red, white or ‘black’ (dark purple) berries. This heritage gives a clue to their preferred conditions – moist, slightly acidic soils, with good drainage, lots of rotted leaves or other organic matter, and gentle sunlight – definitely NOT the scorching westerly afternoon sun in Australian summer conditions. In fact, they have the advantage of being one of the few fruits that will produce in light shade… so use them to get more sweet treats out of those garden spots where you thought none would grow! They are also ornamental, with pretty green lobed leaves.
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Plums

Plums

Bursting with flavour, plums are a summer delight. These graceful, deciduous trees with thick, coarsely-toothed leaves are an asset to any garden and were once found in most suburban back yards. Plums together with Figs are probably the easiest of the fruit trees to grow. The don’t get peach leaf curl, cherry slug, leaf miner, gall wasp, codling moth or oriental moth. Gummosis is rarely a problem. Really, all they need is sufficient sun, food and water.

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Goji Berries

After being away from the nursery for a while I’m always interested to come back and see how the plants are growing around the place, what is in flower, what is fruiting and what is struggling or thriving. So this time after a break, the first thing I noticed was the goji plant (Lycium barbarum) in Edible Alley, the edible garden alongside the BAAG driveway, its pendulous branches positively dripping with glowing, orange fruits.

It is the first time our goji has fruited, as the new growth was pruned in previous years before having a chance to fruit (they are tip-bearers) and because the plant was still young (they start producing after 2-3 years). Now that it is established, we knew not to prune it until after fruiting and have been well rewarded. Feel free to try one when you are in next before they finish. They are small but quite refreshing, not to mention a superfood.

To grow a goji plant, plant it in a sunny position with adequate food, water and drainage. Branches grow as long flexible stems that can be trained to allow the ends to weep and then pruned to maintain a good shape after fruiting or in winter whilst dormant.

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Nectarine – Nectazee Standard

Nectarine - Nectazee Standard

Of the fruit trees growing at BAAG, one that stands out as a great plant selection is the Nectazee standard at the front entrance (our north eastern parterre bed). Nectazee standards are part of the Fleming’s Trixzie miniature fruit tree range which is made up of Nectazee Nectarines, Pixzee Peaches, White and Black Cherree Cherries and Pixzee Pears. Like most other dwarf fruit trees, barring dwarf pomegranates which are ornamental anyway, these produce full sized fruit on miniature sized trees.

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Carob

Photo by Karen Sutherland from Edible Eden Design - edibleeden.com.au Used with permission

Ceratonia siliqua in the Fabaceae family

Heads – up: We cannot supply these trees at the moment – there is no reliable source of named varieties available. If and when they do finally become available, you will see hot air balloons and fireworks coming from the nursery.

Carob trees feature edible pods, the seeds are not consumed. They grow to become quite large trees when mature, as large as 10m x 10m. They have an extensive network of shallow roots, as well as a tap root to as deep as 20 m. They can tolerate temperatures to -5 deg C and are very long lived. A carob tree can crop for up to 400 years! The pods are like dates, but with a harder texture. They are also chewier than dates.

Why grow carob?
When roasted, the pods taste like chocolate. In the past carob chocolate has developed a bad name because of high palm oil content used, but there are sustainable options available today. Be sure to read the ingredients and look for Certified Sustainable Palm Oil. Carob is very sweet and a good, nutritious snack which is high in calcium and protein. It is an excellent subsistence food, in times of war many have survived off carob along with other wild foods.

The Mature pods, when thoroughly dry, will store for many years and can also be used to make wine or brandy.

Other uses
The carob is an evergreen, rounded, drought tolerant and very ornamental tree. They are sometimes used as windbreaks as well as shade and fodder plants for animal pastures. Carob can be used as a treatment for diarrhoea! They can also be clipped into a hedge.

Growing carob
Carobs are similar to olives in adaptability. They can be grown in a large pot and are tolerant of drought and poor soils, although better crops will be produced in areas of higher rainfall. They are wind pollinated, with flowers in early winter. Pods are harvested during autumn. Fertilise with small amounts of well rotted animal manure

Pollination
Both male and female trees are required for pollination. Most trees bought for ornamental purposes are seedlings with unknown gender.

Varieties

Clifford
Hermaphrodite, self fertile. Medium size, high yield of good quality beans. 50%+ sugar. Early fruit bearer.

Casuda
Female, needs a hermaphrodite for pollination. Medium sized tree with a high yield of medium beans. 50%+ sugar. Many consider this variety to have the best flavour, it is not quite as sweet as other varieties.

Kiwi Fruit

Kiwi Fruit

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

You need a male and a female of these very vigorous vines, so allow for both a sturdy supporting structure and plenty of room.  They grow at a very fast pace over spring and early summer and will rapidly cover a large structure with lovely rounded leaves providing perfect summer shade, but also dropping their leaves in winter to allow winter light in.  Flowering in late spring, the male flowers will pollinate the female flowers and the fruit develops slowly, being generally ready to harvest over winter.

Intolerant of poor drainage, doing best in good quality deep loamy soil well enriched with manures.  Feed well over spring (high Nitrogen fertiliser) when the vines are growing rapidly and water well in summer.  Be patient because your kiwi will not fruit for the first few years, fruit will start to appear after 5 years or so and gradually the crop will become heavier until you have a very prolific fruiting vine at age 7 or 8 years.  Prune hard in winter.  Their vigorous growth habit means they will end up a tangled overcrowded mess unless you remove excess growth.  Fruit appears on the first 6 or 7 buds on new wood.

 

Kiwi Fruit – Haywood (Female)
Deciduous twining vine, covered with fine hairs, with large, rounded, lime green leaves. Female flowers have central thick white styles. Also known as Chinese Gooseberry. Late season maturity. Suited to strong trellis or pergola, this cultivar isn’t quite as rampant as other cultivars. Large, even-sized broad oval fruit. The greenish-brown skin is covered by short, fine silky hairs. Excellent keeping qualities and good flavour. Used for fresh fruit, jam, wine and food presentation. Very high in vitamin C.

Male Vine
The male vine is more vigorous than the female vine. Plant in a protected site on secure trellis. Winter prune to remove water shoots. Does not produce fruit but necessary for the production of fruit on the female vine.

Kiwi Fruit – Bruno (female)
A very vigorous climbing plant, which is highly productive of delicate tasty fruit that ripen in May (earlier than Haywood). Needs frequent pruning to keep in check but capable of bearing very heavy crops. Large and elongated, with a dark brown skin, with dense, short, bristly hairs. Light green flesh of good flavour. With a relatively low chilling requirement.

Kiwi Fruit – Dexter (female)
A low chill cultivar which bears early in life and keeps longer than Bruno. Needs fruit thinning and severe pruning.

Chinese Quince

Pseudocydonia sinensis (syn Cydonia sinensis)

Cup-shaped, fragrant pink flowers (to 3.5cm across) blooming in spring are followed by huge, oval fruits (quinces) which ripen in late autumn with an intensely sweet fragrant aroma. Fruits are edible off the tree or may be stewed or used in jams and syrups.

Chinese quince is a small deciduous tree or large shrub with a dense oval crown and attractive bark. A moderately slow grower, it leafs out early in spring and as it ages the bark flakes off leaving a delightful patchwork of gray, green, orange and brown. If it is sufficiently cold the leaves will turn shades of yellow through to red in autumn. The beautiful fruit aside, this is a lovely tree with something to offer in every season.

Best in full sun, tolerates poor soil and some drought.

Olives

Choose an open, sunny area in your garden for your olive tree. Olives are not particularly tall but they tend to be broad and have a large root system. The narrow shady space between the house and the fence is not the place for your olive tree, nor is to the south of a large house or fence. A mature olive tree can make a lovely shade tree to sit under particularly on a hot summer’s day. Make sure the tree will receive at least 6 hours of full sun a day all year round. High humidity particularly in summer will promote fungal diseases, so choose an open spot with plenty of air circulation.

Soil
Olives will grow well in a wide range of soils, as long as the drainage is good. Soil preparation is usually digging a wide hole, (at least twice the width of the root ball), and breaking up the soil. Check the drainage by filling the hole with water (it should drain away in half an hour). If the drainage is poor, then dig over a larger area and mound the soil up, then plant at the top of the mound. It is not necessary to fertilise the tree when planting. Plant the tree with the soil at the same level as it was in the pot. Water in well and mulch with a 7cm layer of mulch, making sure the mulch is not touching the trunk.

Watering
Whilst olives are drought tolerant plants, and will survive without much summer irrigation, they will grow and produce more fruit if adequate water is supplied. Olives are Mediterranean plants and therefore prefer cool wet winters and hot dry summer conditions. It is important to receive adequate moisture especially when the trees are forming flowers until the fruit has set on the tree. This is generally late winter and spring. A lack of water at this stage can cause poor flowering, poor fruit set and the developing fruit to be aborted. Of course olives will not tolerate water logging, resulting in die back and death of the tree if prolonged. Newly planted trees will need watering until they are established, being particularly careful during their first summer. Some varieties are also more drought tolerant than others, with some performing well with additional summer irrigation.

Fertilising
Olives do not need a particularly nutrient rich soil, but a little additional fertiliser once a year early in spring will boost the production of your olive. Use a fruit and citrus fertiliser or chicken manure. Do not use high nitrogen fertilisers as these can make the tree more susceptible to a fungal disease called soft nose which spoils the fruit.

Pruning
Most olive trees will not require pruning, however some vigorous varieties may need pruning to reduce their overall size. If you want your tree to produce the maximum amount of olives and still be able to reach them easily then prune down the height of the tree and remove branches to open up the canopy of the tree letting in plenty of air and light. Most olives are much broader than they are tall, that is they have a spreading canopy.

Pests, diseases and environmental stresses
As long as your olive is growing in the correct conditions, then they will remain productive and healthy with very few pest and disease problems. One of the most common pests on olives are scale. These are small sap sucking insects that produce a protective waxy covering under which they feed. They may be pale yellow, brown, black or white and the coverings may be flat and round or raised and irregular. The treatment is the same, spray with White Oil or Eco Oil. The other main disease in the local area is Peacock Spot, a fungal disease which starts as a dark spot surrounded by yellow rings around the spot in winter. Leaves may turn yellow and drop, or may persist into summer where the layers of the leaf delaminate turn white and dry out. The fallen leaves harbour spores which are the source of infection next winter. Spray with Copper Oxychloride in winter and clean up any infected leaves from the base of the tree.

Leaf scorching, particularly at the tip is most likely indicative of over fertilising and lack of adequate water.

Another fungal disease is called Soft Nose and causes rotting of the tip end (the nose) of the fruit. It is caused by excessive application of nitrogen as fertiliser.
Tiny yellow speckling on the upper surface of the leaf may be caused by Olive Lace Bug, which feed on the underside of the leaves. Generally the infestation is not severe and the tree will still remain productive. Olives often produce good crops in alternate years, that is a bumper crop one year and a light crop the following year. Certain varieties will favour this type of production more than others. Some people thin the crop to reduce this effect by tapping the branches with a stick to knock off some of the fruit as it develops.

Harvesting
Olives are harvested at different stages depending on the end use. For green table olives pick the olives as they change from green to yellow – green. For coloured olives pick them just as the first patch of red or black starts to show. Black olives are generally Kalamatas which are picked just as they develop the black colour. If the olives turn black and ripen on the tree then they can be used for oil. Olive fruit can bruise if handled roughly, so if harvesting for table olives pick them by hand rather than knocking them off with a stick.

Weed Control
Olives self seed readily and the seed is dispersed far and wide by birds, thereby creating a weed problem as the trees are very tough and quite happy in our Mediterranean like climate. To reduce the weed potential of your olive make sure you harvest all the fruit every year. Clean up any fallen ripe fruit off the ground and get the olives off the tree as quickly as possible.

Varieties

The varieties on the following list may not all be available at all times. Seasonal and supplier variations mean we cannot stock all of the following, but we do try to keep as many as possible in stock. Drop in or call our nursery staff for more information on (03) 8850 3030.

Barouni – Also known as Uovo di Piccione. Large table fruit (~7g).Suits warm to cold climates. Cold tolerant. Medium yields. Ripens mid/ late season. Usually pickled green. Small spreading tree suited for hand picking. Origin: Tunisia.

Correggiola – Small / medium fruit (2-3g). High yields. Ripens late season. High oil content. Suggested cross-pollinators are Leccino, Coratina, Pendulino. Origin: Tuscany, Italy.

Coratina – Medium fruit (2-3.5g). Bears young and has consistently high yields. High oil content and a very high quality oil, intensely fruity and pungent. Ripens late season. Considered dual purpose. Very cold resistant. Tree adapts well to different growing conditions. Usually pickled green. Origin: Apulia, Italy.

Flemings Jumbo The largest olive on the market according to Greg Fleming. A kalamata style olive. Good bearing tree growing well in hot climates. Good oil content. The leaves are larger than most olives and the fruit is very attractive, a good produce and ornamental tree.

Frantoio (Paragon) -Small / medium fruit (2-3g). Vigorous heavy mid season cropper. High oil content or exceptional quality. The oil is highly aromatic with a pleasant fruity flavour. Pickled fruit have a tasty nutty flavour. Can be processed as Ligurian olives. Compatible pollinator for a range of varieties. Suggested cross-pollinators are Leccino, Coratina and Pendulino. Origin: Tuscany, Italy. The tree is cold sensitive.

Jumbo Kalamata (Grafted Tree) – Very large table fruit (~12g) with a small seed. Impressive fruit size but flesh can be tough and fibrous if not processed correctly. Not related to the true Kalamata variety. Usually pickled green. Origin is unknown but the fruit is similar in form to the Italian variety Oliva di Cerignola.

Kalamata (Grafted Tree) – A very difficult variety to propagate and is thus generally grafted in order to succeed. Medium/ large fruit. Dual purpose. Medium/high oil content. Good quality oil. Pickled black. Highly regarded fruit for processing. Suggested cross-pollinators are Frantoio and Koroneiki. Origin: Greece. Moderately cold resistant and can be affected by extreme heat. Tree can also be sensitive to acidic soils.

Leccino – Small-medium sized fruit. Considered dual purpose. Medium to high oil content. The oil is superbly balanced and palatable fresh off the press with out the harsh bitterness associated with some oils. Highly productive early cropper. The hardy tree resists low temperatures, wind, fog, olive knot, and fungals, especially peacock spot. Foliage is silver green, leaf size is medium small. The trees growth habit is upright. Has low quality pollen so must have cross-pollination to ensure fruit set. Yields may reduce with extreme heat conditions.

Manzanillo – Medium fruit with good flesh to pit ratio. Consistent high yields on alternate years. Ripens early. Exceptionally highly regarded pickling fruit. Pickled green or black. Fruit is of excellent taste and texture. Fruit should be processed before it is fully ripe to retain flesh firmness. Better with cross pollination. Suggested cross-pollinators are Sevillano, Frantoio, Picual and Arbequina. Origin:Spain. Sensitive to cold.

Nab Tamri – Large table fruit. Very good flesh to pit ratio. Regular moderate to heavy crops. Pickled both green and black. Originates from Northern Africa

Picual (Marteno, Nevadillo) – Medium sized fruit (3-4g). Early start to bearing. High yields. During the first years, fruits tend to be larger than normal and they are highly rated for pickling as black olives for the firmness of their flesh.High oil content, oil stands out for its great stability and high oleic acid content. Ripens Mid/late season. Picual is largely self- fertile but can benefit from cross-pollination. Suggested cross-pollinators are Arbequina and Hojiblanca. Picual is used as a pollinator for Barnea. Picual is tolerant to cold, salinity and wet soils. Origin: Spain.

Sevillano (Spanish Queen) Large sized pickling fruit with good flesh to pit ratio. Medium crops. Pick fruit before the first frosts but the tree is very cold resistant.

South Australian Verdale – Medium/Large oval shaped fruit. Dual purpose. Low/Medium oil content, but high quality oil. Inclined to alternate cropping years, but the ‘on’ years are heavy. Flavour and texture of pickled fruit is very good. Easy to harvest.

UC13A6 (Californian Queen) – Very large almost round table fruit with an excellent flesh to pit ratio. Regular heavy bearer. Ripens early/mid season. Pickled green or black. Origin: University of California, USA.

Figs

Growing figs is a breeze in Melbourne, where our hot dry summers and cooler winters provide ideal growing conditions.  A true survivor, the fig will cope with almost total neglect and it isn’t prone to all those diseases of other fruit trees (peach leaf curl, cherry slug, shot hole, gall wasp, leaf miner, codling moth, oriental moth).

Survival is one thing – for great eating figs a rich, free-draining soil with a neutral pH, plenty of organic matter and a layer of straw mulch will help retain enough moisture to get plump good eating figs.  Often figs are planted in raised beds or mounds, to ensure drainage is sufficient.  Find a sunny spot with not too much wind, in a position where you can enjoy the summer shade provided by this tree.  That said, I have seen figs surviving and producing wonderful crops in the most inhospitable environments imaginable.  They really are the survivors of the fruit tree world.

Harvesting figs is easy, and they should be picked when they are slightly soft to the touch and smelling sweet. Figs will NOT continue to ripen once they have been removed from the tree, so pick them when you need them and handle them with care as they can bruise easily.

Not all the varieties below are stocked all the time. Call the nursery to see what we have in stock.

Adam: A French variety with light yellow brown skinned fruit with a hint of violet. Medium to large sized fruit with pink/red flesh. Excellent quality fruit, good flavour.

Black Genoa: Excellent flavour. Large, conical, greenish purple skin, dark red, rich sweet flesh. Reliable, heavy cropper. Two crops a year. Vigorous, spreading tree. February for three months.Fresh fruit, drying and jam. Self-Pollinating.Originates from the Mediterranean, Middle East and Northern Africa. Prefers hot, dry summer and cool winter. Adapts to many soils, water regularly. Matures from February for 3 months duration. Remove one or two of older branches annually.

Black Ischia: Very soft skin and flesh – this means you wont see them in the shops as not suited to storage and transport. A small purplish black fig with strawberry pulp. Sweet and rich flavour.

Blue Provence: Blue/Violet skin and exceptionally sweet dark red flesh. Bears late in the season.

Brown Turkey: Large, conical, brown skin, pink sweet-flavoured flesh. Vigorous, productive and hardy. Early Summer and late autumn. Fresh fruit, drying and jam. Self-Pollinating.

Conadria: A medium to large yellow-green fig with light strawberry pulp, very high sugar content and a rich flavour. Bred by Ira Condit and released in 1957. Frost hardy. Resists spoilage, good keeping fig.

Deanna: Deanna produces large green figs that ripen to yellow or greenish yellow.

Dwarf Brown: Originally sourced from a home orchard in N.S.W., where it had grown to about 2 metres high and about the same in width. Nice flavoured brown skinned fruits and a genuine dwarf tree suited to smaller spaces and backyards.

Excel: A very sweet, large, all purpose, greenish yellow fig with a light amber flesh. The flavour is superb and the figs are highly resistant to splitting even during adverse weather. Very hardy.

Preston Prolific: Very thick flesh, creamy white and juicy, with sweet flavour. Extremely vigorous and late cropping. Harvested February to March.

Red Conadria: Yellow to light green, with a slight purple blush, medium to large pyriform fruit.High sugar content. Juicy strawberry coloured flesh with excellent flavour, sweet and mild. Fruit resists spoilage in rainy weather. Skin cracks all over but does not split. Flesh is firm.

Silvan Beauty: Purple skinned fruit with orange flesh, good flavour and heavy bearer, makes great  fig jam, discovered growing in Dandenong Ranges, harvests late season, tree can grow quite large.

Spanish Dessert:Spanish Dessert is a cultivar of Ficus smyrna, the best variety of fig to grow. It only has female flowers, and if you want fruit from it you will also need a Ficus ‘Capri’ fig, (inedible fruit, but the only variety to have both male and female flowers). This is essential for pollination of Smyrna varieties.

White Adriatic: A vigorous Fig variety, usually producing one crop a year (the breba crop can be very light). The fruit is good for drying, but is also delicious fresh. Brown green skin over pink flesh with excellent sweet flavour. Self fertile.

White Genoa: Large, conical, yellow-green skin, red-pink sweet, mild flavoured flesh. Suits cooler areas. Lighter cropper than other varieties. Early Summer and late autumn. Fresh fruit, drying and jam. Self pollinating.

Fig Mosaic Virus
Mosaic is a viral disease to which figs vary in susceptibility. The main symptom is mottled leaves. Some varieties infected by mosaic show dwarfed leaves and fruit; others are scarcely affected. Mosaic is incurable but is rarely a reason to discard plants. Spread mostly by mites, but also by pruning and/or grafting from an infected tree to a clean tree.

Tangelos

Most people have a favourite citrus, and the Tangelo is mine! I love the sweet/tart flavour, and combine that with its easy peel nature and super juiciness, it is my ideal citrus. Very hard to find regularly in the supermarket, it pops up on the shelves occasionally between July and October, but rarely. Better to grow your own.

A Tangelo is a hybrid cross between a Mandarin and a Grapefruit, which give it the easy peel skin and sweet/tart flavour. They are all self-fertile and rapid growers that can reach around 4-8 metres tall by 4 metres wide. They are evergreen very attractive trees attractive. They make a great specimen tree, hedge or screen and are very hardy and cold tolerant. They prefer full sun.

Varieties

Minneola

A mid-season variety with large bright red to orange fruit and a glossy, thin skin. This one has a really tasty grapefruit flavour. The tree tends to bear fruit every second year (biennial bearing).

Seminole

This tangelo was bred in the USA and has similar fruit to a Minneola except that the tree itself tends to over bear, making fruit smaller. It is wise for the home gardener growing this one to practise thinning the fruit. Fruit is late, ripening around July or August.

For general information on growing citrus trees, click here

Mandarins

Mandarins are attractive, evergreen, compact trees. They have small glossy green leaves which contrast beautifully with the intense orange fruit. They are self-fertile and fruit easily when given full sun, fertiliser and a well drained soil that is kept moist over the fruiting period. Thinning of flowers encourages larger fruit to form.

Mandarins are commonly used for screening, hedging, espalier or specimen plantings.

Dwarf varieties are also available for growing in large pots. Eat fresh or use in desserts.

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Grapefruit

Grapefruit grow on a vigorous evergreen tree that can easily reach a height of 4 metres or more, with a similar width. Pruning will keep them to a manageable size. All varieties like well-drained soil and full sun. You will be rewarded to with kilos of fruit if you choose the most suitable variety for your climate.

All grapefruits are self-fertile and are great eaten fresh when used in preserves or marmalades. Grapefruit trees are excellent for screening or hedging, they make fantastic shade trees and are easily espaliered. Not recommended for pots.
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Cumquats

All cumquats are self-fertile, evergreen and will grow happily in either full sun or part-shade. They are also very cold tolerant. Soon after the fragrant, white flowers appear they produce ornamental fruit which stay on the tree for a long period. The fruit can be used for liqueurs, preserves, marmalades, drinks and bottling. All cumquat varieties are excellent for containers, screening, espalier and standards.

Varieties

Marumi (or Meiwa)
This cumquat grows into a small tree (around 3m x 3m). A very persistant fruiting variety that peaks in autumn and winter. The round fruit has a tart flavour and sweet rind.

Calamondin or Australian
A popular variety that is highly ornamental due to its columnar, upright habit and glossy, compact leaves. It is a vigorous grower and can reach 8m x 4m when mature. Will remain much smaller in pots. An abundant fruiter that peaks in autumn and winter. The fruit is juicy and sour with loose skin.

Nagami

A small, elegant plant that can grow to around 3m x 3m. Remains slightly smaller in pots. A variegated form is also available. The fruit is small and oval shaped with a thin skin and it is very juicy and only slightly acidic. The only cumquat variety suitable for eating fresh off the tree. The skin is also edible.

Chinotto
Chinotto is an ornamental citrus that makes a stunning pot specimen. It produces small, bright orange fruit every year that ripen in winter. The fruit isn’t edible fresh as it is very bitter. It can be preserved, but generally this tree is grown as an ornamental. The leaves are attractively arranged in a spiral around the long and upright stems. Possibly the source of the popular Italian drink with the same name.

For general information on growing citrus trees, click here.

Wampi

Clausena lansium

Commonly grown in S.E Asian backyards and gardens, the wampi is a slender evergreen tree that can reach 10m in a tropical climate and is grown for its clusters of brownish grape-like fruit. It is high in vitamin C and can be used to make jams, juice and desserts.

The tree foliage is attractive and aromatic, with bright green leaves and clusters of white flowers giving way to generous bunches of fruit in summer which are borne on the tips of branches. It requires little in the way of pruning and maintenance and grows into a slender tree.

Fruit is harvested when fully ripe, as it will increase in sweetness when left on the tree for longer. The fruit have a thin, brittle skin that is split open and seeds removed for its juicy flesh.

The wampi prefers a sunny and warm position with moist, well-drained soil and requires similar growing conditions to the citrus family (of which it is related). Whilst it is originally from tropical Thailand, wampis can withstand low winter temperatures to a minimum of -2 degrees Celsius and will recover from light frost damage.

Feed with well-rotted manure and compost only.

Varieties

Guy Sam
Sweet and tangy with brown skin, this variety has grape-sized fruit.

Yeem Pay
A yellow skinned variety with large, elongated fruit. This variety is very sweet and crops heavily.

Babaco


(Syn: Champagne Fruit) Carica pentagona

A versatile and remarkably easy to grow subtropical: the quiet achiever of the Carica genus, there is the papaya, but then there is the babaco – the champagne fruit – which will thrive in Melbourne and delight you with its wonderful fruit.

The attractive golden torpedo shaped fruit have a light refreshing effervescent flesh giving it the name ‘Champagne fruit’. The subtly tangy flesh has hints of strawberry, pineapple and papaya flavour, is white to yellow, fragrant and juicy. The fruit is easily made into a fabulous tropical fruit smoothy, a chilled fruit cocktail, or added to a fruit salad (there are no seeds and the thin skin is edible). Slice (so they look like stars), sprinkle with sugar, leave in fridge for a few hours and serve – too easy. The unripe green fruit is delicious used as a green vegetable in curries and chutney. The whole fruit, skin included, can be used in jam, or added to fruit pies. Add to all this the excellent keeping qualities (4 weeks on the shelf, longer in cool storage) of the babaco and it is verging on the perfect fruit.

Growing

Babaco is an herbaceous shrub growing to approximately 2.5m, large palmate leaves on stems which radiate around the trunk, a distinctive and attractive look. Useful if you want to get that subtropical look in your garden. The average life of a leaf is 4 months, they will be start to look shabby over winter and will shed.

It can tolerate mild frosts (-2ºC), but will need protection from heavier frosts. It may lose some leaves in frosts, but will recover. Also protect from wind and the hot afternoon sun.

Babaco is susceptible to root rot, so good drainage is non-negotiable. It is very well suited to container growing with a good free draining potting mix. A fast growing, heavily producing shrub, therefore you will need to fertilise well. For optimal results use a good quality fertiliser, mulch and water well during the growing and fruiting seasons, but keep water, mulch and fertiliser away from the stem. Composted chicken manure makes a good mulch. Babaco has no tolerance for salinity, and as a precautionary measure, avoid gray water as well.

Shoots form around the base of the trunk and should be removed. Around September allow one of these shoots to develop (it will become the trunk for the following year). This shoot will grow rapidly but will not flower and interfere with the current season’s fruit set. After harvest, prune the main stem back to 20cm and the remaining shoot will now develop and become the next main stem/trunk. Allowing only one stem to grow gives maximum trunk size to a single trunk which in turn leads to maximum fruit size.

Fruiting & Harvesting

The flowers are all female (hence no seeds) and form on the developing trunk during the growth phase of the tree. The fruits set immediately after flowering, and start to expand fairly rapidly. The fruits are 5 sided, pointed at the apex and rounded where they attach to the stem (often referred to as ‘torpedo’ shaped). As they ripen yellow patches will appear over the green skin and these will spread until the whole fruit is yellow and ripe. Fruit can be picked when still patchy and they will fully ripen off the plant. The lowest fruit ripen first and then ripening progresses up the trunk.

Babaco sorbet
Paul made this for the nursery, he reckons he is still to ‘perfect’ the recipe. The rest of us thought it was pretty perfect already.

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 babaco

Add water and sugar to a saucepan and gently heat till sugar dissolves
Put sugar water in fridge to cool
Peel babaco and cut into pieces
Once sugar water has cooled, add babaco pieces and blend together
Add mixture to an ice-cream maker and churn till at desired consistency

Babaco daiquiri
There is a babaco almost ripe and ready in the driveway bed, am hoping it is ready this week in time for Friday night drinks…

90mls rum
1 1⁄2cups frozen or fresh Babaco, cubed
3tablespoons fresh lime juice
30mls triple sec
4 teaspoons sugar
2cups ice cubes
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth

Apples (Modern)

Apples (Modern)

Apples are one of our most popular fruit. They are also a tree that many people don’t try to grow at home. But you should be! Melbourne has an ideal climate for growing apples. Apples require regular maintenance to bear a successful crop in the home garden. However it is worth the effort, particularly if you chose your favourite variety or a variety that is not available in your supermarket. There are many different varieties to choose from, most with superior taste to commercially grown apples, (selected partially because of their long keeping qualities). In addition to the fruit, you also get a beautiful spring display of blossoms as well as a wonderful shade tree in summer. For those of you with smaller gardens you can plant a dwarf variety (with full sized fruit) or try your hand at Espaliering. For an interesting commentary on the perils of breeding apples for the supermarket shelves read this article from The Atlantic.

Cultivation

Apples require a sunny open position (at least 5 hours of full sun a day), and a fertile, moist but well drained soil. Add gypsum to heavy clay soil and mix compost through the soil prior to planting. Ensure an even supply of moisture throughout the growing season.

Fertilise in spring with a general purpose, slow release fertiliser.

Annual pruning in winter, firstly to develop a strong framework, and thereafter to encourage fruit bearing branches.
Regular pest and disease control measures should be carried out. Coddling moth and woolly aphids are common pest problems on apples in this area.

We keep a large range of apples in stock all year round here at BAAG, read on for the full list of varieties.

In addition to the apples listed here, we also keep a large range of Heritage Apple Trees.

Pollination

Some people are put off by the fact that apples need to be pollinated with a different variety. Remember this does not mean you need room for two apple trees. There are many multi-graft varieties available with cross-pollinating varieties on the one tree. You can also plant two apple trees in the same hole if space is an issue in your garden.

Full Size Traditional Trees

(all varieties generally grow to 4m x 4m)

Cox’s Orange Pippin
One of the oldest apple verities, Cox’s Orange Pippin is a medium to large sized apple with a red orange stripe in the skin over a greenish background. The creamy coloured flesh is crisp, aromatic and juicy. Ripens the end of March and is a good keeping extremely popular dessert apple.

Gala
Has a wonderful flavour, great eaten fresh. Bright red colour over yellow. Tree grows to 4m x 4m. Dwarf available.

Golden Delicious
Great cooking apple with sweet flavour leading to a slightly tart finish. Gorgeous yellow fruit that store well. Matures mid-season

Granny Smith
Everyone loves a Granny Smith! Bright green, crisp fruit, with a delicious flavour, great for eating fresh and cooking. Matures late-season.

Jonathon
The original bright red apple. Tasty, bright red, medium sized fruit with a slight tartness. Matures early to mid-season.

Pink Lady
A tasty, medium sized apple with a delightful pink to scarlet skin. Top eating flavour. Matures mid to late season. Dwarf and miniature available.

Pomme de Neige
Mottled bright red skin on areas exposed to the sun. Snow white crisp, juicy and sweet flesh, maturing late March to April.  Use as fresh fruit, for cooking and drying. Small sweet apple ideal for kids.

Red Delicious
A well known apple, very deep red thick skin, distinctive shape. Large sized apples. Matures mid-season. Dwarf available.

Red Fuji
Delightfully sweet aromatic fruit that is a muted red in colour. Great for eating fresh, and keeps well left to hang on the tree. Matures mid to late season.

Semi-dwarf, Dwarf and Super-dwarf

All apple tree are grafted onto a root stock, these rootstocks can determine how large the final tree will grow.  Increasingly popular are dwarfing rootstocks which keep the final height to under 2.5m and in some cases closer to 1.5m. Many (and more each year) conventional apples are being grafted onto dwarfing and super dwarfing rootstocks

Leprechaun Dwarf
A naturally growing dwarf growing tree, this is essentially a dwarf Granny Smith, with all the cooking, eating and pollinating characteristics of our famous green Granny Smith apple.

Monty’s Surprise Dwarf
A small growing (2.0m x 1.5m) tree with extra large fruit.This remarkable apple has some of the highest flavonoids and antioxidant levels, both in the skin and flesh, of any apple variety found in the world (many times higher), it also has high micro nutrient levels. Combine this with fine crisp white slightly tart flesh and you have a winner. Can be used as an eating, cooking, dried or cider apple. Note – large sized fruit means this tree will need support staking.

Pinkabelle Dwarf
A true ‘naurally growing dwarf’ tree, Pinkabelle is a variety of Pink Lady apple. Growing on a neat 2m x 1m tree, the fruit is sweet, full sized and tasty. Partially self-fertile, but would love a friend to pollinate with. This is a grafted tree. Matures mid to late season.

Columnar Apples

Columnar apples will grow to a height of about 3.0m and 600mm wide. They are a great choice for pots and smaller gardens, or that tricky, narrow spot along the fence line. Left to grow their full 3m in height, they will potentially bear 15kgs of apples. They naturally form short shoots and fruiting spurs from their second year. These set masses of blossom and subsequently lots of fruit – which will require thinning to get maximum sized fruit. The heavy blossom set makes them a particularly attractive garden feature in spring.

Ballerina Bolero
A tasty little tree that produces sweet flavoured fruit. Light green in colour with a slight pink to red blush. Great eaten fresh, or used in cooking. Matures mid-season.

Ballerina Charlotte
Bright red, juicy fruit great for both eating and cooking. Matures mid-season.

Ballerina Flamenco
A beautifully sweet and juicy eating apple, Flamenco bear medium sized bright red fruit with a slight green tinge. Matures mid to late season.

Ballerina Maypole
A gorgeous compact Crab-Apple, Maypole puts on a floral display in spring that is not to be missed! Oh, and the crab apples aren’t bad either! Maypole is a great little pollinator for the bulk of the “Ballerina” range. Matures mid-season.

Ballerina Polka
Pretty green apples with a slight red blush. Fruit is sweet, crisp and juicy and great both fresh and cooked. Matures mid-season.

Ballerina Waltz
Deep red, small to medium sized fruit. Great flavour with a slight tang, Waltz is great both fresh and cooked. Matures mid to late season.

Pom-For-You – No longer in production-
Bright pink red over yellow green background autumn apple. These are columnar apple trees, or “ballerinas of the second generation”. Characterized by strictly upright growth, very rich and robust blossom followed by masses of uniform excellent quality apples. Firm and juicy, excellent flavour, can be eaten straight from the tree, cool stored, or used for cooking (also can be used for cider). Ideal for the gardener as it has very low susceptibility to apple scab, cancer, fruit rots and aphids, a very low maintenance apple. A fabulous tree for landscaping purposes with durable showy blossom, disease free generous foliage and attractive fruit. Provides a strong vertical element and looks stunning when mass planted.

Pom Pink
Yellow green base colour with stunning bright purple red blush over the top. A second generation ballerina with improved blossoming and fruiting characteristics. Known as a columnar apple and characterised by strictly upright growth with rich robust blossom, followed by masses of superb apples. Apples are medium to large, firm and crisp with creamy white flesh, aromatic and juicy with an excellent flavour. Can be used as an eating, cooking or cider apple. Excellent cool storage characteristics. Ideal for the gardener as it has very low susceptibility to apple scab, cancer, fruit rots and aphids, a very low maintenance apple. Fabulous tree for landscaping purposes with durable showy blossom, disease free generous foliage and attractive fruit. Provides a strong vertical element and looks stunning when mass planted.

Cumulus
Sweet white flesh with a fine crisp texture. Solid red blush over pale green background. Wonderful eating apple of a good large size.Excellent for eating fresh, stewing, apple cider, cooking and dried apple. Harvest February to March. Like all columnar apples – a prolific bearer.

Harmony
For those of us who want a columnar version of Golden Delicious – this apple it has the classic yellow skin over creamy white sweet and juicy flesh. Not too big, a nice medium size, great for kids. Very versatile can be eaten fresh, or used in stewing, apple cider, cooking and for dried apple. Prolific. Harvests March to April.

Herald
Large red skinned fruit over sweet crisp cream and fine textured flesh. Very versatile can be eaten fresh, or used in stewing, apple cider, cooking and for dried apple. Prolific and harvests February to March.

For more information on Heritage Apple trees click here
For more information on selecting bare root fruit trees click here
For our fact sheet on getting the most out of grafted trees click here
For those with small gardens check out our factsheet ‘Fruit Tree Espaliering Basics’

Apples (Heritage)

Apples (Heritage)


The past decade has seen a wide recognition of the benefits and qualities of heritage and non-commercially grown fruit and vegetable varieties.

Commercially grown fruit and vegetables must have certain qualities such as uniformity, ease of harvesting, good travel and storage qualities all of which can be ignored by the home gardener. There is no need to compromise on flavour, texture, colour, aroma and fun when you grow your own. Heritage varieties have been around for centuries because people have enjoyed eating them, with the less appealing varieties disappearing over time. The end result is some simply stunning varieties to chose from, often with wonderful quirky characteristics. There are new cultivars being developed or found (nature did the work) by dedicated gardeners and horticulturalists all the time.

There is great charm and satisfaction in understanding, growing and eating fruit from your own garden. Researching the history of the variety, appreciating its specific qualities and how and when to eat it, all deepen the indefinable enjoyment of sharing the fruit from your garden with family and friends.

A more pragmatic reason for maintaining our heirloom varieties is genetic diversity and the knowledge that once a variety is extinct, it is unavailable for any future use and any potential benefits lost forever.

Worldwide there are thousands of heritage fruit varieties. In Australia there are far fewer, but still many to choose from. At BAAG, we are developing our range of heritage and uncommon varieties, trying to pick ones which will do well in Melbourne / Victoria and are both interesting and useful.

In addition to the Heritage Apples listed here, we also keep a large range of Modern Apple Trees.

Apple – Alexander – Heritage Apple
Pollinators: Lord Lambourne, McIntosh, Tydeman’s Early Worcester, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Sturmer, Polka, Waltz, Gala, Golden Delicious. Duke of Clarence
Maturity – February March
Brilliant orange and red broad stripes over pale yellow background, this large apple is both a good (sharp) eating and good cooking apple, cooking up to a lovely lemony puree.
18th Century from Ukraine . Growers around Riga, on the Baltic, sent fruit every year to the Russian Court and named the apple as a compliment to Emperor Alexander
Popular also because of its hardiness and heavy regular bearing.

Apple – Court Pendu Plat

Pollinators: Mid to late season apples such as Pomme De Neige, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Cox’s Orange Pippin or Jonathan.
Ripens late season
This is considered the oldest apple known, introduced into Europe in Roman times. Small in size, yellow skin flushed with orange and red, sometimes russet. Brisk acid flavour when first picked, mellowing to sweet and fully flavoured as it matures. Flowers late (avoids frost) and just superb considering it’s about 1500 years old!

The flesh is very dense, not soft but not crisp either. Cutting into it with a knife feels a bit like cutting into a hard cheddar cheese. There seems to be very little juice, and it is not really apple-flavoured at all. The flavour is fruity and strong when picked, and sweetens as it ages. It is not actually very appealing when you first bite into it, yet is strangely “more-ish”, with a flavour which is hard to define. It can also be used for cooking.

Apple – Devonshire Quarrenden – Heritage
Pollinators: partially self-fertile, Vista Bella, Lord Lambourne, McIntosh, Alexander, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Sturmer, Tydeman’s Early Worcester, Polka, Waltz.
Maturity Jan – February
1670 from Devon
Devonshire Quarrenden produces beautiful small crimson red apples with sweet, crisp and juicy flesh and an aromatic strawberry-like flavour. This flavour can depend on time of picking and be elusive, but is distinctive and pronounced at certain times. The red skin can bleed into the flesh and occasionally red flecks may appear within the flesh. Cooks well.
Will often tolerate quite wet and windy sites.
However, there are some caveats. Like all early apples Devonshire Quarrendon does not keep.

Apple – Duke of Clarence
Maturity: June July
Lord Lambourne, McIntosh, Tydeman’s Early Worcester, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Freyberg, Polka, Waltz, Gala, Golden Delicious.
Another outstanding apple that seems to have dropped out of sight. A gloriously beautiful apple polishing to a glossy dark burgundy. A lovely medium round shape with creamy pale flesh accompanied by an outstanding sweet apple flavour. Will grow well in Melbourne conditions and takes the apple season well into winter. This apple was widely grown in Tasmania, but has gradually been lost to sight. The only way to get one is to grow one.

Apple – Fenouillet Gris – Heritage
Maturity: March to April
Vista Bella, Devonshire Quarrenden, Lord Lambourne, Alexander, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Granny Smith, Jonathan, McIntosh, Sturmer, Tydeman’s Early Worcester, Polka, Waltz.
Long esteemed in France and one of ‘seven principle apples’ grown by La Quintinye at Versailles, it is first recorded in France in 1608 when described as Espice D’Hiver, listed by Olivier de Serre. The word Fenouillet means fennel, of which the apple’s flavour is said to be reminiscent. It is a dessert apple but has also been used for cider. A blocky shape with golden yellow skin nearly covered with brown russet, with a greyish brown tinge on the sunny side. Not one to highlight in the fruit bowl. The yellowish flesh is rich, tender, crisp and sugary with a fine aromatic flavour, it is this that has kept the apple going for the past 4 centuries and more. This is a collector’s apple.

Apple – Freyberg
Matures: April
Lord Lambourne, McIntosh, Tydeman’s Early Worcester, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Sturmer, Polka, Waltz, Gala, Golden Delicious. Duke of Clarence

An amazing apple, drawing qualities from both it’s parents – Golden Delicious and Cox’s Orange Pippin. Nicely shaped medium sized fruit, the skin a lovely golden green with a tiny russet fleck. It ripens midseason and hangs well on the tree. The juicy white crisp flesh has an almost spicy flavour and with just a hint of anise, can also have distinct pear like overtones, it continues to develop flavour when ripe. Very memorable and a favourite of everyone that tries it. One of our favourites.
A good keeping apple as well as a reliable tree and fairly easy to grow. Rarely available for sale, so you will have to grow your own!

Apple – Huonville Crab

Pollinators: Mid to late season apples such as Pomme De Neige, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Cox’s Orange Pippin or Jonathan.
Because of their prolific flowering, crab apples are regarded as great pollinators for apples. Ripens April to May

Discovered in Huonville, Tasmania, producing deep scarlet apples which have deep pink flesh right to the core. The leaves of the tree are purple, as is the stem. Probably a hybrid between a crab apple and a cultivated apple, resulting in the small fruit (bigger than crab apples). It would also explain it’s vigour and prolific bearing. Great to eat, great cooked or juiced and makes a very acceptable cider.

Apple – Lord Lambourne

Maturity March-April
Pollinators: Considered to be self pollinating, but pollinators may increase fruit set:Vista Bella, Devonshire Quarrenden, McIntosh, Alexander, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Sturmer, Tydeman’s Early Worcester, Polka, Waltz. Freyberg
Introduced in 1907 and is very much in the tradition of classic English high-quality aromatic dessert apples. It has the pleasing uniform shape – round, and not too flattened – and typical orange flush over green, with a hint of russet. The flesh is creamy-white and quite crisp, and the flavour is pleasantly strong with good depth and subtlety. Excellent juice and acidity. Considered as good as Cox’s Orange Pippin, and much easier to grow, less disease prone.
Like many of the aromatic apples, Lord Lambourne is a very good juicer.

Apple – McIntosh – Heritage
Partially self fertile:
Vista Bella, Devonshire Quarrenden, Lord Lambourne, Alexander, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Sturmer, Tydeman’s Early Worcester, Polka, Waltz.
Matures march – April
One of the great North American varieties originating in Ontario around 1800
A small to medium bright red apple, roundish shaped that fits gently into the hand, with a bit of stripe or fleck in the colouring. It has sweet scented white flesh, occasionally with pink streaks. The flavour is simple and direct, generally sweet with a refreshing acidity and usually a hint of wine – a McIntosh at its peak straight from the tree is a culinary experience to savour.
The fruit grows best in cool areas where nights are cold and autumn days are clear. Heavy and reliable cropper, with best flavour in colder regions.

Apple – Opalescent
Cross pollinators: Granny Smith, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Sturmer Pippin, Lord lambourne, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Gala.

An American antique apple (c. 1880) of immense worth. Big, aromatic, primarily dark glowing crimson red and hefty. A fine and satisfying apple, a mildly tart and sweet crunchy stunner. Cooks superbly. Has been around for 130years and will be around for much longer, a great addition to any home orchard.

Apple – Sturmer

Matures June – July
Lord Lambourne, McIntosh, Tydeman’s Early Worcester, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Freyberg, Polka, Waltz, Gala, Golden Delicious. Duke of Clarence
Originating in Sufolk in the 1800s the Sturmer has several remarkable qualities. Its appearance isn’t one of them: Average size with a dull orange yellow russeted skin. However….the dense yellowish flesh keeps extraordinarily well and the flavour matures and sweetens as it stores, so it just gets better and better as the initial sharp robust flavour mellows and sweetens. It extends the season well into late winter when all other apples are done and dusted. Can be eaten fresh, cooked, juiced or made into cider, an all rounder. On top of that it is a reliable heavy cropper, so you have plenty to carry you through winter and into spring. May even be eaten at its best in September or later. Try it with a sharp cheddar or blue cheese.

Apple – Tydeman’s Early Worcester
Maturity: January – February
Pollinators: Lord Lambourne, McIntosh, Alexander, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Sturmer, Tydeman’s Early Worcester, Polka, Waltz, Gala, Golden Delicious.
A very pretty good sized round or round conical apple. Its skin colour becomes pale yellow greatly flushed crimson red with purplish crimson stripes. Apples are richly flavoured, juicy and aromatic, sweet with a little acidity. There are many early apples, but only a few with reliably good flavour like this one.
This variety is a partial tip bearer so is best avoided for growing as a cordon or espalier.

Apple – Vista Bella Apple
Pollinators: Devonshire Quarrenden, Lord Lambourne, McIntosh
Maturity January
Vista Bella is a very early season dessert apple. A pretty,medium-sized apple, with a bright red flush over a light yellow-green background. Can change to a solid crimson when ripe or over-ripe in good sunlight. For such an early variety the flavour is remarkably full and good, with a distinctly fruity taste reminiscent of slightly under-ripe raspberries. The flesh is crisp, light and juicy, and this apple is very easy and enjoyable to eat. If you have been surviving on old supermarket apples stored from the previous season, then Vista Bella is a revelation, with its full-on taste of the summer.
However, there are some caveats. Like all early apples Vista Bella does not keep.

Cider apple – Yarlington Mill

Pollinators: Partially self fertile
A famous old cider apple from the village of Yarlington in Somerset. A strong growing tree, beautiful elongated pink/yellow apples and the juice is rich with lots of good tannins, sugars and acidity, a very good cider apple, good cropper but like many cider apples tends to be biannual.

Lightly striped dark red skin; smooth, slightly waxy, yellow.
Flesh white, reddish below skin, slightly crisp with some astringency.

Can be espaliered to 1.5m – 2m or left to grow to a natural height of 2.5m – 4m.

If you want a heap more great info on Heritage Apples, written in a very personal way, head to Adam’s Apples at adamapples.blogspot.com/.

For more information on Modern Apple trees click here
For more information on selecting bare root fruit trees click here
For our fact sheet on getting the most out of grafted trees click here
For those with small gardens check out our factsheet ‘Fruit Tree Espaliering Basics’

Trees for Small Gardens

Trees for Small Gardens

Espaliered Trees

Espaliering is a form of pruning and training trees as a flat two dimensional specimen. This is usually done against a wall but may also be used to provide a free standing green wall. There are many different shapes that the espalier may take. Traditional espaliers usually have lateral branches trained horizontally at regular spacing. However other shapes may be used including fan, palmette and cordon shapes. Espaliering displays the flowers and fruits very attractively and creates an elegant, compact tree, which is perfectly suited to small gardens.

 
Flowering Cherries, Crab Apples, Cercis, Laburnum, Crepe Myrtle and Prunus all make stunning espaliers. The fruit trees most suited to this style of training are Apples and Pears. However, other fruit trees such as Plums, Cherries, Peaches, Nectarines, Almonds, Apricots and fruiting vines can also be espaliered in more simple designs. Espaliered trees create a compact, elegant tree whose flowers and fruit are attractively displayed, and spraying and picking fruit is easier and less time-consuming. Fruit is usually produced earlier on espaliered trees. Netting to protect ripening fruit is also easier on a smaller, more compact tree.

 

Requirements

A constructed support such as trellis or horizontal wires upon a fence is needed to support the tree. Strong posts are required at the ends to hold up the trellis or on which to train wires. Wires must be under tension and need to be thick enough to train the growing stems to. The wires should be spaced 50 to 75 cm apart and space the trees at two to 4 m apart depending on the size of the tree.

 

Method

Select young trees with evenly spaced branches. Chose the lateral branches to be retained and prune off all other laterals near the trunk. Tie the laterals down to the wires (for a traditional espalier), or onto bamboo canes, which should then be tied into position on the wires (for fan shaped espaliers). Use flexible ties which should be checked regularly for damage to the stems. Prune the tips of the laterals back to the desired length, to a bud. Vertical, inward-facing and weak growth should be removed.

 

Espaliered trees have the same growing requirements as other fruit and deciduous trees, so remember that
adequate watering in summer and providing the right soil conditions are essential to maintaining a healthy
espaliered tree. Espaliering is a high maintenance technique. Constant pruning and tying in are needed to create the right shape to start with. When the desired shape and size are reached, this must be maintained with regular pruning. Early summer pruning is important to control vigour and prevent shading of the lower limbs.

 

Winter pruning

Winter pruning is also required, and it is also the time to redefine the shape and size of the espalier.

 

Pleaching Fruit and Deciduous Trees

Pleaching is a very old technique used with many fruit and ornamental deciduous trees to form a free-standing ‘hedge-on-stilts’. The training is similar to forming an espalier – trees are planted in a line at approximately 2.5m apart, lower branches are removed and lateral branches of adjacent trees are trained to ‘Knit together’ to form a tall hedge. This is very useful to create privacy along a narrow driveway.

 

Duo and trio fruit trees

This refers to planting two or more trees into the same hole. Commonly done when trees require cross pollinators and/or when space is tight.

Trees will grow on their own root system and with their own growth habit. An advantage is that the stronger growing tree will not dominate the weaker tree which is often a problem in multi grafted trees. A dwarfing effect and earlier fruit may be noticeable due to competition.

Plant the trees around 150mm – 300mm apart and at a very slight outward angle. Judicious pruning to remove some of the branches in the centre triangle (if three trees) or adjacent (if two trees) is ideal when planting. Prune as if one tree, so you have an open structure with tree branches not interfering with each other.

These multiple plantings allow you to fit in cross pollinators, to increase your range of species and lengthen harvest time.

 

Cordons

A cordon involves training a tree with a single stem. Cordons are planted on a slant and trained up wires at a 45 degree angle, then gradually trained along the top of the wire trellis. This form of training allows many different cultivars to be produced in a small space. It is suitable for many fruit tree cultivars as well as berries.

 

Ballerina Apples

The Ballerina Apple tree is a compact, columnar tree, which only grows 3.5m tall by 60cm wide. It is perfect for small spaces or growing in pots. This tree requires little or no pruning. Many fruiting apple cultivars are available as well as an ornamental Crab Apple. It produces a large crop of medium to large-sized excellent-flavoured fruit. Fruit matures in mid-late March. Ballerina Apples are partially self-fertile, although another Ballerina Apple, Jonathan, Granny Smith or Dayton planted nearby would be an advantage.

 

Dwarf Fruit Trees Cultivars of Apples, Nectarines, Peaches and Pomegranates are grafted or bred to produce smaller trees that produce abundant crops of normal-sized fruits. The trees reach approximately 2 x 2 m. These are ideal for container growing or planted in small gardens. Varieties available are Granny Smith, Jonathan, Golden Delicious, Gala and Red Delicious, Nectarine, Peaches (grown primarily for their ornamental value) and Pomegranates.

 

Standard Forms

Many citrus, roses, hedging and flowering shrubs can be bought or trained as standard forms. The plant is pruned to form a ‘ball on a stick’, displaying flowers, fruit or foliage on a formal plant. Standard Cumquats, Roses and English Box or Lilly Pilly standards can look stunning in small gardens or pots where a formal style or feature is desired.

Trees in Pots

Many fruit trees and deciduous ornamentals can be grown in containers on balconies or in small gardens. This is very useful for people without gardens. A container that holds a large amount of potting mix is necessary. A half wine-barrel with holes drilled is ideal. If the pot is smaller, the tree may need re-potting every 2-3 years and will not produce as much fruit. It is important to use a good quality potting mix and to give the tree a deep, regular soaking, with extra water on hot days. The tree will not grow as large in a pot.

Weeping Fruit & Ornamental Trees

Many deciduous ornamentals, such as Weeping Cherries, Birches, Mulberries or Maples are excellent container grown plants. The same principles apply as above. The plant can be brought out for display when it is at its best or can be under planted with bulbs, ground covers or annuals during the dormant stage.

 

Pears

Pears

Pear

Pears are one of the most versatile fruits around, whether you use them fresh, baked, poached, grilled, barbequed, sautéed, sliced into a salad, juiced or dried, they are delicious and easy. Used and cultivated for thousands of years, they have one unique characteristic: unlike most fruit, pears improve in both texture and flavour after they are picked. If left to ripen on the tree the texture can become gritty. Pears are high in fibre, a good source of vitamin C and a good Low GI food.
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Mangoes

The mango is widely grown across the world’s tropical regions and with a bit of care it is possible to have a slice of the mango Pavlova right here in Melbourne and other southern areas. It becomes a large and dense shade tree of up to 40m in tropical areas but will reach a height between 3m (dwarf) and 15m when planted as a grafted specimen in Melbourne.

The mango is a self-pollinating tree, with the flowers forming on the end of branches, but may not set fruit if conditions are cold, wet and windy. The tree will require a frost-free position to become established as well as protection from strong winds.

Mangoes require a well-drained soil with a pH of 5.5-7, however they will do better in a sandy, poorer soil rather than rich over-fertilized soil. Fertilise in late winter/early spring and late spring/early summer with blood and bone until they reach flowering age. Then feed in summer as the fruit starts to form, as well as regular watering with seaweed solution.

When planting dig through plenty of well-rotted compost and aged cow manure and mulch well with pea straw, sugar cane mulch or Lucerne. Ensure that the mulch is kept away from the trunk of the tree to prevent rotting.

Prune trees to establish a single trunk 1-2m high then tip prune the leader. This will encourage multiple shoots for fruit production within reach.

Mangoes can fall prey to Anthracnose fungal disease. Symptoms of this may include black spots on flowers, fruit and leaves as well fruit failing to develop or prematurely falling. Ensuring that the tree is receiving a balance of nutrients will help prevent Anthracnose and soil testing to determine pH may help to ensure that all nutrients are available to the tree. Supplement the tree with potash in late winter to minimize occurrence of the disease. Pruning to increase air-circulation can help as well as the application of a low-impact copper based fungicide. Remove all fallen or damaged fruit, harvest ripe fruit daily and control fruit fly using pheromone baits.

The following varieties may be more tolerant of cooler climates

Nam doc mai
The Nam doc mai is a Thai type of mango with an elongated shape that may be eaten green or ripe and is often eaten as a pickled fruit. It tends to perform well as a regular cropper in cooler climates. It has yellow-green skin and is sweet, tender and juicy with an excellent flavour, is fibreless and low-acid. They are susceptible to Anthracnose so care needs to be taken to minimise the occurrence.

Kensington Pride grafted
A very common and popular Australian variety that has an excellent flavour, is very juicy and large in size. In cold areas it can be an irregular cropper, especially if wet. Medium risk of anthracnose.

R2E2 (Seedling)
The R2E2 is good sized fleshy mango with reliable cropping over a range of climates and a vigorous growth habit. The flesh is sweet and juicy and the skin is attractive with a lovely burnished colour.

Tamarillos

Solanum betaceum

For those of you who may not have the greenest of thumbs, here is a perfect productive plant for you to try growing. The tamarillo, sometimes called the Tree Tomato, is a member of the solanaceae family, which also includes other staples like regular tomatoes, eggplants, capsicums and potatoes. It isn’t all that well known here in Oz, although if you ask a relative or friend from New Zealand, they will soon want to be your best bud when they hear you have a tree which is covered with these delicious fruits. Firstly originating in South and Central America with the rest of the Solanaceae edibles, tamarillos were introduced to New Zealand by Asia back in the late 1800’s.

The tamarillo is a fast growing, but short lived small tree, lasting only 5 to 7 years. However fruit can be expected in 18 months from planting. You don’t get much faster results than that when it comes to perennial plants. For a longer lived tree (approximately 15 years) grow a grafted tamarillo.

When planting your tree, it is important to know that they are a shallow rooted plant and will prefer to have some space all to themselves. Choose a sunny spot that has some protection against hot wind and good drainage is essential. If you live in a frosty area that drops below -3ºC, consider putting a light cover over your tree in winter time. If there is any damage to the soft fleshy growth, just tip out these shoots and your tree will recover without too much worry. Tamarillos can also be grown in large pots. Expect your tree to get approximately 2-3metres tall and 1-2 metres wide. Lop seedling grown plants at the 1m tall stage, as they need some encouragement to grow bushy.

At planting stage, dig in lots of organic matter to the soil and add some blood and bone. Applying a thick layer of mulch, such as straw, will also help reduce moisture loss and fight competition against weeds. Although not highly demanding as far as water is concerned, they benefit from a good regular drink, especially in hot and windy weather. If dry their leaves will droop down, but spring back if given a good soak.

Tamarillos produce loads of edible egg shaped fruits, these first appear in early autumn, but can take up until September to ripen in Melbourne. The harvest time can vary, however once the fruit turns to a rich red, you’ll know when to start cutting them off, and don’t forget to leave a small stalk. The fresh fruit can be kept in the fridge for up to 8 weeks.

Fruit flavour is described as being somewhere between kiwifruit and passionfruit. The thick skin is where the bitter flavour comes from, and flesh is generally sweet, particularly if you have a yellow skinned variety.
When it comes to uses, the tamarillo is endless: desserts, jams, sauces and of course, fresh in a fruit salad (which is sure to get all your guests talking).

Pests aren’t usually a huge problem with tamarillos, just the occasional aphid party is the one to keep an eye out for, they are sometimes in masses under the leaves but can be controlled very easily with low a toxic spray like pyrethrum.

Varieties

Red skinned
The red tamarillo was developed in the 1920’s by an Auckland nurseryman from seed from South America. It has a deeper colour skin when it’s grown in cooler conditions, and is the least sweet of the different colours.

Amber/Orange skinned
This is said to be the sweetest of the three

Yellow skinned
Yellow skins are slightly sweeter than the reds but not as sweet as the amber.

Nut Trees


When most people think of productive trees, their thoughts turn immediately to citrus, stone fruit, apples and the like.  But how about a nut tree or two? There’s little better than snuggling up in front of the fire on a chilly winters night nibbling on a bowl of home-grown, freshly roasted nuts. And despite what you may think, they are not that hard to grow.  Read on to get your nut around nuts!

Here at BAAG, we sell a great range of nuts, including Almonds, Chestnuts, Macadamias and much else besides. As they all require slightly different growing conditions, sites and pollinators, it’s best to look at each variety individually. Click the following links to view the factsheets:

Almonds
Chestnuts
Hazelnuts
Pecans

Guava

Guava (Chilean)

Myrtus ugni (synonyms: Ugni molinae, Eugenia ugni)
A dainty bush with small glossy green leaves, perfect for hedging. Fruits well in partial shade as well as sun. Abundant small white self-fertile flowers appear in early summer, quickly followed by red berries, which remain small and deep red for 4-5 weeks before swelling and becoming paler, at which point they are ready to pick, reaching around 1cm in size. They can be eaten fresh off the bush as berries do not keep for long. Will store in the fridge for 5 days. Chilean guava berries have a flavour that is intense, variously described as sherbet-like, piquant, sweet-sour, kiwi, strawberry and something a little spicier, almost like bubble-gum. The concentrated flavour means you only eat a few at a time. Try adding to muffins or friands, use instead of cranberries for a sauce, or scatter through a summer pudding.

Guava (Strawberry)

Psidium littorale (prev P.cattleianum)
There are red and yellow varieties of this guava. Red strawberry guava, red cherry guava, red cattley guava

An evergreen small tree suitable for hedging and growing in containers. Grows in full sun as well as part shade. Often grown purely as an ornamental tree, this extremely loveable claret-red fruit is the best of the guavas. Although slow to start off, this tree will eventually provide you with a couple of punnets every week over a 2-3 month period, between April and June. Free of the muskiness of the common guava, the flavour is somewhat strawberry-like, spicy, sub-acidic and the scent is faintly spicy orange. The seeds are small and hard, but can be swallowed whole. When cooked the seeds need to be sieved out. Usually eaten fresh, juiced or made into a jam. The fruit is also high in Vitamin C.

Strawberry guavas are frost tolerant to -5°C once mature (protect young trees) and not at all fussy about their growing position, tolerating dry conditions and even part-shade. They make a fantastic screening shrub or small feature tree with attractive caramel coloured bark and fluffy red and white flowers. They flower and fruit on new growth so pruning the previous season’s stems will encourage a better crop the following year. Harvest begins in April, and goes through until June. Best picked when fully ripe. The fruit is round, 2-3 cm in diameter (the size of a small plum), deep wine-red, with a very thin skin. Self-fertile.

Yellow strawberry guava, yellow cherry guava, lemon guava, yellow cattley guava There is also a yellow variety which has larger, sweeter and milder fruit, and it’s probably the sweetest and mildest of all guavas. The fruit are 3-4cm in diameter, yellow skinned with a sweet, aromatic, creamy white flesh and small seeds.

The yellow cherry guava trees with their lighter coloured and duller leaves are less attractive than the red varieties, but they are more prolific bearers of fruit. Not as hardy as the red variety.

Flowers are cup-shaped, fragrant and pink (to 3.5cm across), blooming in spring, followed by yellow oval fruit which ripen in late autumn with an intensely sweet fragrant aroma. Fruits are edible off the tree or may be stewed or used in jams and syrups.

Guava – Brazilian

Psidium guineense
A small subtropical tree 1-3m tall which can be pruned to size. Frost sensitive. Produces round or pear-shaped fruit similar in size and appearance to the common guava, with yellow skin and pale-yellow flesh surrounding a white acidic pulp. These guavas have an excellent guava-strawberry flavour with a sweet-sour fruity taste, sometimes described as tasting like pineapple jam. They don’t have the strong aromatic smell and taste of other guavas which some people dislike. The fruit contains small seeds which are make them easy to eat. The fruit may be eaten fresh, or used to make jellies and preserves.

Indian Guava

Psidium guajava
A tropical/subtropical guava tree growing to 4m that is also suitable for growing in pots and containers. White flowers in summer are followed by yellow skinned juicy sweet small to medium sized fruits with a white firm flesh containing seeds. Fruits are edible off the tree or can be used in jams, juices, jellies and desserts. Grows well in full sun to part shade in rich, well-drained soil in a protected area. Drought and frost tender.

Guava – Mexican Cream

Psidium guajava
An upright growing tropical/subtropical guava tree growing 2-5m high, which can be pruned to maintain a height of 2m, suitable for grown in pots. Frost tender. Produces small to medium sized roundish fruit around 5cm in diameter, with a pale yellow skin, sometimes with a slight red blush. The flesh of the fruit is creamy, white, thick, fine-textured, very sweet and aromatic, with an aroma of pineapple and passion fruit, excellent for desserts. The fruit has a small seed cavity small with fairly soft seeds

Guava – Hawaiian

Psidium guajava
An attractive spreading tropical/subtropical guava tree growing to 2-5 metres that can be pruned to keep compact, also suitable for growing in pots and containers. Takes four years to bear fruit. Requires protection from frosts. Prolific cropper producing large, yellow skinned fruit with pink flesh which can be eaten fresh, juiced, used in jams and jellies.

Guava – Thai White

Psidium guajava
A tropical/subtropical guava tree which can be pruned to size, suitable for growing in a pot, will fruit in a small sized pot. Frost sensitive. Produces large, green-skinned fruit containing few seeds, sweet creamy white flesh with mild flavour, can be eaten crunchy or soft, all parts of the fruit are edible, including the skin and seeds. Requires protection from frosts.

Guava – China Pear

Psidium guajava
A tropical/subtropical guava tree growing 2-4m high which can be pruned to size. Frost sensitive. Produces large, pear-shaped fruit with light yellow skin and thick, creamy and very sweet, finely-textured white flesh. Requires protection from frosts.

Cornelian Cherry

Cornus mas a.k.a The Cornel

Seed grown trees may produce only male flowers (mas = male) for many years therefore no fruit will be produced – so get a cutting-grown tree! Cornus mas will grow well in Melbourne conditions, tolerating both frost and heat. Winter (or early spring) flowering, delicate yellow tassels open before the leaves, providing great winter interest in the garden. Lime green heavily veined leaves follow, which provide a good backdrop for the brilliant red fruit.

Berries ripen to a ruby red in mid to late summer, acidic, but if allowed to ripen further after falling from the tree, will continue to sweeten. The acidic flavour has been described as a mixture of cranberry and sour cherry. They make a sauce similar to cranberry sauce which is brilliant with rich meats such as game meats or osso bucco, ox tail etc. The fruit are most commonly used for jam making. Wonderful on a crusty loaf, but watch for pips.

Cornus mas Jam

4 cups of sugar
2 1/2 cups of water
1 pound of Cornelian cherry fruit
In a large pot, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Simmer the liquid for 15 minutes. Stir in the fruit and simmer for an additional 30 minutes, or until the syrup has thickened. Periodically skim off the foam that comes to the surface of the mixture. Pour into sterile jars and seal (or consume right away to save that trouble).

In Azerbaijan and Armenia, the fruit is used for distilling vodka, while in Albania it is distilled into raki. In Turkey and Iran it is eaten with salt as a snack in summer, and traditionally drunk in a cold drink called kızılcık şerbeti.

Oranges

All oranges are self-fertile, small to medium evergreen trees. They have large, dark green, glossy and aromatic foliage. The pure white flowers also fill their surroundings with their characteristic scent in spring.

The trees themselves grow large, but are easily kept pruned to a height and width of approx. 4 metres. All oranges prefer a sunny aspect with protection from frost.

As we know, they produce juicy fruit packed with Vitamin C and are generally eaten fresh or juiced. Blood Oranges are excellent for garnishing too.

Orange trees are perfect for hedging, screening, espalier, shade and as a specimen tree in any garden. Dwarf varieties can be used in pots to lend a Mediterranean feel to your courtyard garden.

Varieties

Blood Oranges

To successfully get the colouring in a blood orange the tree needs hot dry summers, cold wet winters and autumns with cold nippy nights and warm sunny days. Just the tiniest bit fussy…

Maltese

Maltese is an older variety of blood orange that develops a more regular and distinct red pigmentation in hot, dry areas with cold nights. It has a sharp, sweet flavour and the small fruit has a blood red splash on the skin. The flesh is very juicy and seedy.

Arnold

Discovered by Mike Arnold in South Australia, this is a newer variety that produces a red pigmentation in coastal climates. Better colour is produced in cooler climates. The smallish fruit ripens mid-winter and has a distinctive tang. The tree is also small and bushy, making it suitable for pots or a small garden.

Cara Cara

Not a true blood orange but a naval orange producing large seedless fruit that are very sweet and low in acid. Unlike other blood oranges that produce the red pigmentation along the veins in the flesh of the fruit, the Cara flesh is all the same colour, similar to a ruby grapefruit and they get their colouration from Lycopene rather than Anthocyanin which colours a true blood orange. Temperature can alter the colour.

Tarocco

Generally regarded as the sweetest of all blood oranges. Has the highest Vitamin C of all the oranges. Skin is orange rather than red and the red pigmentation of the flesh is often contained in the lower half of the fruit. Absolutely wonderful eating orange.

Navel Oranges

Lane’s Navel (syn. Lane’s Late Navel)

Originating from Curlwwaa, NSW property of L.C. Lane.  Very similar to a Washington Navel except that it colours later and is an excellent late holding navel. The tasty fruit begins to ripen in early spring and lasts until December. It has large fruit with a deep orange colour. It is easy to peel with very few seeds, much like other navels. One of the best oranges for fresh eating.

Leng Navel

This early ripening variety originated in Victoria and produces a fruit which is smaller and paler than a Washington navel. It has few seeds and a thin skin, making it a great choice for juicing.

Washington Navel

The richest and sweetest of all the oranges, the Washington navel has a low heat requirement and is the earliest to ripen (usually from May to June). It is the most popular backyard orange in Australia and is best eaten fresh. It is excellent for juicing, but must be drunk immediately as it will become bitter on standing. Oranges are medium to large, depending on the quantity of fruit set, and very sweet and juicy. Skin is relatively easy to peel and, being a navel, the fruit is seedless.

Navalina

An excellent cultivar imported from Spain in the 1980’s. Navelina has fruit which ripens around the end of April into May, making it a fantastic early season naval orange. It is sweet, seedless and juicy. Fruit can be slightly oblong in shape and naturally develops an attractive dark orange skin. The tree is compact and bushy.

Newhall Navel

The fruit is an unusual oval shape and is said to be the sweetest navel, making this variety a winner!

Toc Summer Navel

Fruit is large and very juicy with an excellent flavour. Toc Summer navel is a late holding navel and crops well into summer. For those gardeners with space, planting a Navelina, Washington and Lanes Late will find themselves harvesting Navels for up to six months of the year.

Valencia Oranges

Valencia

Valencia has a high heat requirement, but works well in Melbourne if you leave the fruit on the tree for a long time. This makes it the last of all oranges to ripen. Leaving fruit on the tree helps to develop full flavour and sweetness. The fruit generally starts to ripen in October and can be left on the tree until the following April. Valencias require that perfect ‘hot spot’ in the garden. The fruit is large, juicy and relatively seedless, and sometimes a challenge to peel. Keeps well and produces excellent juice, second only to Navals when eaten fresh. Ripe fruit holds on the tree for months. Use tasting as your harvest guide.

Seedless Valencia

Very similar to the Valencia. The fruit ripens a little earlier but will still hang on the tree for up to 6 months. Although named seedless, this variety will produce a few seeds if pollinated by other varieties.

Sweet Oranges

Joppa

This is one of the original varieties brought here by the first fleet. Not widely grown these days, but it is an underrated backyard orange. The tree is a strong grower and produces fruit mid-winter. Oranges are medium sized, thin skinned with a good flavour and are exceptionally juicy. They have a few seeds and well worth a try. It crops consistently every year.

Mediterranean a.k.a Parramatta

This sweet orange grows on a vigorous tree and produces a medium sized fruit that contains only a few seeds. The flesh is pale and has a mild flavour. The easy to peel fruit has a pale orange skin at maturity and has the tendency to re-green.

Sour Oranges

Seville

Seville is also called the sour or bitter orange, and once tasted you will understand why. Only really used for making jam and marmalade. It has large flattish fruit. They have a sharp bitter tang and many seeds. The fruit ripens in mid-winter. It is a strong growing tree and makes a very attractive specimen tree.

Bergamot

This tree has been grown in the Mediterranean area since the seventeenth century. The oils from the fruit peel are what make this orange famous. Oil of Bergamot is used mainly in perfume and produced throughout southern France, Italy and Paraguay. The fruit are small and smooth with a bright yellow skin when fully ripe. Similar to a Tahitian lime. You can make delicious marmalade from the skins and flesh or use the juice in place of a lemon.

For general information on growing citrus trees, click here

Apricots

Furry and golden on the outside, juicy and flavourful on the inside, apricots are little balls of sunshine in a cool climate garden.  From jams to liqueurs, there’s nothing you can’t do with an apricot… and these gorgeous, long-lived trees are a perfect fruity feature in your patch, growing to a manageable 4m x 4m size. If you prefer a smaller tree, there are now several old favourites grafted onto dwarfing rootstock – perfect for pots (need staking when young).

Like most stone fruits, Apricots prefer a sunny spot in a garden that gets pretty nippy in the cooler months, and warms nicely come spring and summer.  They are somewhat frost tolerant once established, and should be protected from wind and salt (shouldn’t we all!).

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Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora)

Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora)

Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) (Photograph by Bulleen Art & Garden)

A favourite with chefs these days, Lemon Myrtle has moved past the novelty stage and is now widely used due to its outstanding lemony characteristics. The leaves have an exceptionally powerful lemon taste and aroma – “more lemon than the lemon”. Other names historically used are Lemon Ironwood, Sweet Verbena Tree, Sand Verbena Myrtle, Tree Verbena
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Juniper Berries

(Syn Cardamom) Juniperus communis

The spicy, aromatic, dark purple berries of the juniper tree can be used fresh or dried, crushed or whole, to flavour casseroles, sauerkraut, marinades and stuffings and complement game meats as well as pork, lamb, beef and duck. They can also be used in sweet dishes such as fruitcake. Juniper berries also provide the main flavouring for gin.

Juniper is commonly used with lamb but their sharp clean resinous flavour is particularly good with venison, wild boar, quail, duck, goose and even domestic pork. They can even be added to chilli dishes where they add a certain complementary rustic flavour.

Berries are best if lightly crushed before being used as a spice, used both fresh and dried, their flavour and odour is at their strongest immediately after harvest and declines during drying and storage.

The mature dark coloured berries are used in cooking while the green berries are used in flavouring gin.

The juniper berry is the female seed cone of the juniper tree.

Lemons

Lemons are that tree everyone wants in their backyard. They are useful for hedging, screening, espalier, producing some shade or as a specimen tree. Dwarf varieties are also popular choices for growing in a pot.

All varieties prefer full sun to part-shade and a well drained soil. They benefit from loads of organic matter at planting, they love a feed at least twice a year and dislike any competition around their roots.

They are all evergreen and self fertile. Lemons are used in cooking, drinks, desserts… and on your fish and chips!

Varieties

Lisbon
A vigorous and thorny tree which reaches around 3-5m x 3-4m. Lisbon can be more cold tolerant than Eureka. Fruit is produced mainly in winter, with a smaller summer crop. The lemons are smooth skinned, large and juicy with a few seeds. The rind is thinner than Eureka.

Eureka
A vigorous tree which grows to around 3m x 3m. The biggest benefit is that the Eureka fruits all year round (with the heaviest crop in winter), so you are nearly always guaranteed to have lemons on the tree. The fruit is medium to large and highly juicy. It has a thick, pitted, rough rind and only a few seeds. They tend to hang on the almost thorn-less tree for a long period of time.

Thornless
This lemon originated in South Australia and is very similar to the Eureka, commonly referred to as the Thornless Eureka.  The skin is smoother and finer than the Eureka.

Meyer
A smaller, more compact tree than Eureka or Lisbon, Meyer only grows to around 2.5m x 2.5m. Fairly frost hardy and consequently popular where frosts occur. It produces numerous crops of medium sized lemons throughout the year. Meyer is a hybrid between a lemon and an orange, which makes the fruit smoother, rounder and sweeter (less acidic) than a classic lemon. It has a thin, orange rind without the lemon zest flavour and amber flesh.

Lemonade
A vigorous and attractive tree  with a reliable and heavy crop in winter.   It is possible to produce a second smaller summer crop. The Lemonade looks like a lemon but can be eaten straight from the tree, just like a mandarin or orange. The fruit is a lot sweeter than a lemon, with a refreshing tang.  It makes a refreshing drink when juiced.

Other interesting Citron

Buddha’s Hand
Originating in India, this has to be the most unusual citron. It has a fruit which resembles a hand with finger like segments. The fruit contains no flesh and is entirely made up of white pith. Although not commonly used in a culinary sense, it is traditionally used for perfuming clothes and rooms in China and Japan. The tree is vigorous, but still small. Perfect for those wanting something a little different.

Etrog
This unusual citron is best described as a lemon on steroids. It can grow to double the size of a standard lemon and is long and is elongated in shape with a thickish skin. The fruit is used in Jewish religious ceremonies.

For general information on growing citrus trees, click here

Peaches & Nectarines

Nectarine - Nectazee Standard

Nothing compares to the taste of a home grown, freshly picked peach or nectarine. Bursting with flavour and heavy with juice, once you have tasted peaches from your own tree you’ll never go back to canned again. As well as being tasty, peaches and nectarines are also really good for you. Both contain high levels of Vitamins A and C, as well as potassium, magnesium and beta-carotine.

Nectarines are essentially a smooth-skinned peach… that’s why we have them together on the one factsheet.

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