Fruit varieties in Llanblethian Orchard

Young applette clusters

At Llanblethian Orchard we grow a large range of traditional fruit varieties from Wales, the Borders and the South West.

Several of the fruit varieties are quite rare and all were selected for their disease resistance and vintage qualities. It has been a wonderful experience growing so many different varieties with such diverse characteristics.

From the sublime honeyed flavour of Golden Knob, the marked pear drop flavour of Pen Caled to the complex musky flavour of Broxwood Foxwhelp the complexity and variability of apples is truly breathtaking.

If you click on the images it will take you to separate pages with in-depth descriptions of the varieties and their properties.

Our hope is by sharing the information you will avoid some of the pitfalls we have encountered when planting up your own orchards. It should hopefully encourage people to grow some of the rarer apple varieties as well.

Page is being built. Clicking on photos in the future will take you to information about the individual varieties.

Apple Varieties

Annie Elizabeth in flower

Cooking Apple
Annie Elizabeth

Ashmeads Kernel apple on branch 2

Eating Apple
Ashmead’s Kernel

Ashton Brown Jersey in flower

Bittersweet cider apple
Ashton Brown Jersey

Balls bittersweet apples on branch

Bittersweet cider apple
Ball’s Bittersweet

Black Tom Putt on branch

Sharp cider apple
Black Tom Putt

Blue Sweet apples on branch

Sweet cider apple
Blue Sweet

Bramley apple on branch

Cooking Apple
Bramley’s Apple Seedling

Breakwells Seedling apple on tree

Bittersharp cider apple
Breakwell’s Seedling

Browns apple on branch

Sharp cider apple
Brown’s Apple

Broxwood foxwhelp apple on branch

Bittersharp cider apple
Broxwood Foxwhelp

Chaxhill Red on branch

Sharp cider apple
Chaxhill Red

Colemans seedling apple on branch

Sharp cider apple
Coleman’s Seedling

Cummy Norman apples on branch

Bittersweet cider apple
Cummy Norman

Dabinett apple on branch

Bittersweet cider apple

Frederick apples on branch

Sharp cider apple

Golden Knob apples on branch

Eating apple
Golden Knob

Katy apples on branch

Eating Apple

Kingston Black apple on branch

Bittersharp cider apple
Kingston Black

Langworthy apples on branch 3

Sharp cider apple

Morgans Sweet apples on tree

Sweet cider apple
Morgan’s Sweet

Pen caled apple on branch

Eating Apple
Pen Caled

Pig Aderyn apple on branch

Bittersharp cider apple
Pig Aderyn

Profit apples on branch

Cooking apple

Red glow apples on branch

Crab apple
Red Glow

Stoke red apples on branch ripe

Bittersharp cider apple
Stoke Red

Sweet Copin apples on branch

Sweet cider apple
Sweet Copin

Tom Putt apples on branch

Triple purpose apple
Tom Putt

Tremletts bitter apples on branch2

Bittersweet cider apple
Tremlett’s Bitter

Vilberie apples on branch

Bittersweet cider apple

Woolbrook pippin apples on branch

Eating apple
Woolbrook Pippin

Yarlington Mill apples in bucket

Bittersweet cider apple
Yarlington Mill

Pear Varieties

Here are the pear varieties we grow in Llanblethian orchard. Sadly we lack photos for several of the varieties. This is because pear trees take a lot longer to come into bearing than apple trees. Several pear trees in the orchard still do not fruit 12 years after planting!

Interestingly, pear trees are also like grape vines in the complexity and vintage qualities of the fruit increases with tree age. Even with my young trees the specific gravities (sugar content) of juice has been steadily creeping up over the years.

There is an old saying with pears. Plant pear for your heirs. How true!

Fruit descriptions with question marks at the end are based off records from the Welsh Perry and Cider Society and not corroborated.

Barnet pears on branch

Sharp perry pear

Berllanderi Green tree

Bittersweet perry pear?
Berllanderi Green

Brandy pears on branch

Sharp perry pear

Butt pears on branch

Bittersharp perry pear

Chapman's Orange pears being washed

Bittersweet perry pear?
Chapman’s Orange

Gin perry pears being washed

Bittersharp perry pear

Green Horse pears on branch

Sharp perry pear
Green Horse

Gwehelog pears on branch

Sharp perry pear

Gwehelog red pear on branch

Gwehelog Red

Hendre Huffcap Pears being washed

Sweet perry pear
Hendre Huffcap

Potato pear on branch blurred

Sharp perry pear
Potato Pear

Taynton Squash on branch

Bittersharp Perry Pear
Taynton Squash

Thorn pears on branch

Sharp perry pear

Yellow Huffcap Pears on branch

Sharp Perry Pear
Yellow Huffcap

Fruit varieties not recommended / removed from Llanblethian Orchard

Although we planted what were regarded to be disease resistant fruit varieties, a few proved otherwise.

The damp. heavy conditions undoubtedly exacerbated the problems. It did however act as a good test bed to select only the strongest, most vigorous varieties. Hopefully this will prove of use to other Welsh growers.

Below are the varieties that proved unsuited to our conditions and my thoughts on them. I do hope you can avoid the problems we have encountered in your own orchards!

Ashton Bitter (cider apple)

Almost immediately on planting the trees suffered extensive dieback of new growth. we had it tested by FERA and they reported a fungus called Fusarium Lateritium in the die back. The trees were growing by a stand of willow trees that were also experiencing similar symptoms. They were pruned back extensively to remove the disease but it returned several years later. we have since cleft grafted over with Katy.

The apples themselves are an early hard tannin bittersweet variety. Not considered by the local cider making community as worth bothering with. And one farmer we know removed several hundred of them because of it.

Included is the FERA report below for the interested. It should also be noted an orchard we buy from in Monmouthsire in better conditions has similar problems.

Ashton Bitter FERA plant test report.

Ellis Bitter (cider apple)

Ellis bitter apples

Both the Ellis Bitter trees in the orchard in Llanblethian and at the barn by Crossways (a much dryer site) have extensive dieback of new growth. Canker looks like the most likely culprit in this case. The trees at the barn are experiencing less and are being managing by extensive pruning.  All trees are being grafted over with more resistant varieties.

A real shame really as Ellis Bitter is a very nice early bittersweet cider apple variety. Ellis bitter works very well in a blend to give a balanced traditional cider.

One of the main unsprayed orchards we buy from in Monmouth has the same issue with Ellis Bitter. We believe this variety is too susceptible to canker to grow organically in Wales sadly.

Hellen’s Early (perry pear)

Hellens Early on Branch

When planted grew healthily into large, strong trees. They produced a fair early crop. One year I picked pears from an old orchard in Rockfield, Monmouthshire. Some of the trees looked quite diseased. The spent pomace was composed at the end of the orchard. The next year the nearest Hellen’s early tree to the compost tip started to look diseased. Since then all Hellen’s Early trees have the same disease. Possibly pear canker. Extensive die back of new growth and fruit is cracked and damaged. Harvest quanitity is GREATLY affected. 🙁

Other pear trees seem unaffected. Live and learn I guess. Other Hellen’s Early trees on poor sites in Monmouthshire also have the issue. The trees will be grafted over or removed. The fruit itself makes a fair early perry. We would not recommend for organic growing in difficult conditions!

Pitmaston Pineapple (eating apple)

Grew very well for several years into a noticeably upright tree with narrow crotch angles. It produced a crop of delicious small yellow sweet-sharp pineapple flavoured apples that were looked forward too. They really do taste a bit like pineapple!

Then one year almost every branch was struck with canker at the same time. Although pruned out it has come back several times and is being grafted over with deep regret.

It is on the windward side of the orchard. So most likely canker spores from other trees never reached it due to wind direction. That disguised it’s canker susceptibility until one fateful year 🙁

Worcester Pearmain (eating apple)

A famous strawberry flavoured apple variety and parent to Katy. It needs a very good year to get it’s best flavour and is often underwhelming.It also needs to be picked when fully ripe to get a good flavour which is why it is not commercially grown.

Sadly very heavily battered by canker and is being grafted over. Honestly I’d just plant Katy instead. Katy may not be as sublime in an especial year as Worcester Pearmain but it’s much more dependable.