Month: November 2013

Today in my garden


The apples are bursting into life and I’m wishing I’d been more organised and ordered the heritage apples I plan to espalier around the fences enclosing the vegetable garden.  Now it will have to be next winter.  Inspired by the extraordinary orchard at RHS Wisley, I am planning an exciting display of old English and French cultivars.  First on my list was the famous Cox’s Orange Pippin which will fruit for the first season this year. It is widely regarded as the finest of all dessert apples.  Cox’s Orange Pippin  ‘Pippin’ is an old English word derived from the French word for ‘seedling’. The same word can be seen in the modern French for a plant nursery or garden centre – ‘pepiniere’. Like many old apple varieties Cox’s Orange Pippin was discovered as a chance seedling.  If you would like to research this further, here’s a link to the Heritage Fruits Society

About the Heritage Fruits Society

The Heritage Fruits Society is based in Melbourne, Australia. Their aim is to conserve heritage fruit varieties (also known as ‘heirloom fruits’) on private and public land.  They enable and encourage society members to research this wide range of varieties and to inform the public on the benefits of heritage fruits for health, sustainability and biodiversity.
You can read about their history here and you can find their list of heritage apples here.

A list of some of the Heritage/Heirloom apples you might like to consider from Petty’s Orchard in Templestowe, Victoria, Australia.  It is one of Melbourne’s oldest commercial orchards, and it holds the largest collection of heritage/heirloom apple varieties on mainland Australia, with more than two hundred varieties of old and rare apples. The maintenance of the apple tree collection is done by Heritage Fruits Society volunteers. Anyone can come and help. Find out more!

Petty’s Orchard Complete Heritage Apple Collection



Albany Beauty


Alfriston Mother (=American Mother)

Andre Sauvage Antonovka Kameniohka


Autumn Tart


Ball’s Seedling



Batman’s Tree

Batt’s Seedling

Baumann’s Reinette

Beauty of Bath

Beauty of Stoke

Bec D’Oie

Bedford Pippin Cross

Bedfordshire Foundling

Belle de Boskoop

Belle de Magny

Berner Rosen


Blenheim Orange

Blue Pearmain

Bonza Boy’s Delight

Bramley’s Seedling

Breakwell’s Seedling

Brittle Sweet

Brown’s Apple

Browns Pippin

Bulmer’s Norman


Butters Early Red

Carolina Red June



Cayuga Redstreak


Cimetiere du Pays



Coldstream Guard

Cornish Aromatic

Cornish Gilliflower

Cox’s Orange Pippin

Cox’s Orange Pippin Red

Cox’s Pomona

Cranberry Pippin


Crofton Red




Delicious Glen Vimey

Delicious Hi Early

Delicious Richared

Delicious Starkrimson


Democrat (Black)

Devonshire Quarrenden

Dewdney’s Seedling

Discovery Doctor Hogg

Dunn’s Seedling (Monroe’s Seedling)


Early Victoria

Edward VII

Edwards Coronation

Eggleton Styre

Egremont Russett

Eldon Pippin

Ellison’s Orange

Emneth Early (=Early Victoria)

Esopus Spitzenburg

Esopus Sptizenburg

Fameuse (=Snow Apple)

Fenouillet Gris

Forfar Pippin


French Crab (=Winter Greening)





Geante D’Exposition

Geeveston Fanny

Geoff’s Tree

George Carpenter

George Neilson

Gildering Sage D’espagne


Golden Delicious

Golden Harvey (=Brandy Apple)


Granny Smith


Gravenstein Early


Hollow Crown


Hubbardton Nonsuch

Hyslop Crab

Ida Red

Improved Foxwhelp

Irish Peach

Isaac Newton’s Tree

James Grieve






Jonathan Red


July Red

Keswick Codlin

Kidds Orange Red

King Cole

King David

King of the Pippins

King of Tompkins County

Kingston Black

Kirk’s Seedling

Lady Finger

Lady William


Laxton’s Fortune

Laxton’s Superb



London Pippin (Five Crown)

Lord Derby

Lord Lambourne

Lord Nelson

Lord Suffield

MacIntosh Early



McIntosh Early



Merton Worcester



Monarch Cross


Murray Gem


Newtown Green Pippin



Northern Spy


Orange de per

Orleans Reinette

Ortley (=Cleopatra)

Peasgood’s Nonsuch

Pine Golden Pippin

Pittmaston Pineapple Fameuse (=Pomme de Neige)

Poor House

Potts’ Seedling


Prince Alfred

Prince Edward

Queen Cox



Red Astrachan

Red Delicious

Red Granny Smith

Red Winesap

Red Winter Pearmain (=Buncombe)

Reinette d’Angleterre

Reinette du Canada

Reinette Musque Rheinette de Macon

Rhode Island Greening

Ribston Pippin


Rome Beauty

Roundway Magnum Bonum

Rous La Tour

Royal Jubilee

Saint Edmunds Pippin

Saint Edmunds Russet

Scarlet Nonpariel

Scarlet Staymared




Starkes Earliest

Starking Hi Early


Stayman’s Winesap

Stewart’s Seedling

Summer Strawberry

Sunbury Late


Sweet Coppin

Symond’s Winter

Twenty Ounce

Tydeman’s Early Worcester

Upton Pyne

Vista Bella

Winter transparent Early

Woolbrook Russet

Worcester Pearmain

Yarlington Mill


Peonies for Spring

Peonies for Spring

This year I ordered a collection of heirloom peonies by mail order and have made a special bed for them in a sheltered spot out of the wind and in full sun. Except for Sarah Bernhardt,  who, according to the label, likes a little shade.  Expect to pay $18 – $25 per tuber.  The ones I received from Spring Hill Peonies were a good substantial size with 5-6 eyes and in great condition.  Make sure they don’t dry out and don’t plant them too deep or they won’t flower.  The emerging ‘eyes’ should be no more than an inch below soil level.

Spring Hill have Bareroot Peony Plants for sale directly from the farm.

  • Colours – light pink Lady Alexander Duff – early bloom double head
  •                 – dark pink Madame Jos Odier – late bloom double head fragrant
  • Pick up from Farm or post
  • Postage and handling $20 small package (up to 10) $25 large package

Email order, include name, address, phone number, types and quantities, pick up or post. For more information email for a brochure.

Spring Hill Peonies, 1385 Kyneton Springhill Rd Spring Hill


Tel: (03) 5424 8470
Mob: 0438 567 604                      

Shed Door Sales
For Flowers in Spring November and December
Monday to Sunday 10am til 4pm

For Bareroot stock 
Peony Roots are available in Winter in the months of late May and June
Call the owners Mac and Nicky to arrange an order and a time to visit.

Other varieties for you to consider:


The petals of this glowing pink single have an amazing sheen which offer a glorious foil to the golden stamens. Flowering very early this is not a tall growing peony but everything about it is sturdy. Thick stems, leaves and petals help the plant to cope with any inclement weather. Glasscock 1939, a cross between Paeonia lactiflora and Paeonia peregrina.

Another early flowering variety. A low growing double which starts to open with a blush of palest pink turning to white when fully open.

Dr Creveaux

This plant presents red at every stage of it’s growth. Red shoots in the spring, red stems, red tinted leaves and when it blooms – an amazing magenta flower with glowing golden stamens. The contrast is stunningly regal – the petals like velvet and the stamens like a queen’s crown.
Miss Eckhart
The softly cupped outer petals are a wonderful shade of china pink which changes to a paler pink in the centre. The long yellow stamens are a bees delight.

Mons Charles Leveque
This peony flower is an unusual shade of dark pink. It has the mauve shade we associate with old roses, the perfume too is strongly rose like. This is another peony bred by Calot in 1861.

Catharina Fonteyn
The large outer petals are a soft shade of pink while the central petals are almost white. A glow of yellow surrounds the stamens nestled at their base.

A beautifully formed flower of dark pink petals. The tightly curling inner petals create a stunning pink bomb which rests upon the larger guard petals. This variety flowers over a several week period late in the season.

Bunker Hill
Vibrant deep pink petals develop from a bud which promises to be pale pink. The large petals are finely edged with white and the flower is loosely formed. The plant was bred by Hollis in 1906.

Sarah Bernhardt
A large pink bloom with frill edged petals. The flower opens wide to show lovely yellow stamens. This is a very vigorous plant with dark green leaves, long strong stems and many attractive dark red side buds. It is the peony most peope see in the florist shops and is known as the ‘big pink’. If you think peonies are difficult to grow try this one. Bred by Lemoine in 1906.

Dr Alexander Fleming
A double lactiflora with very large, vibrant pink flowers. The buds are also very attractive because of the striking green and red striped calyx. We find these pretty stripes a great help when we are sorting a pile of mixed cut flowers into varieties ready for bunching.

Edulis Superba
A medium dark pink flower. The large guard petals open to reveal a ball of softly curling inner petals. Bred by Lemon in 1824.

Madam Calot

This flower is a double pink lactiflora. The guard petals are a pale pink and the centre is a froth of cream and palest pink petals. The plant was bred by Miellez in 1856.

Shirley Temple
The dark green leaves of this plant are a wonderful contrast to the flower of delicate marshmallow pink. The flower gradually turns a snowy white . This variety flowers prolifically.

A flower with unusually coloured large loose petals. They are a vibrant pink at the base while the outer edges shimmer a paler silvery pink. Rich yellow stamens gleam down deep among the froth of petals. This is a very tall vigorous bush. Bred by Kreckler in 1962.

Queen Victoria
An old variety and one of the earliest to flower at Highcroft. The guard petals are pale pink while the central petaloids are cream. It’s a vigorous plant with lovely red shoots apearing late in the winter.

One of our latest varieties, some years flowering right up until Christmas. This is an unusual peony because each plant has some dusky pink flowers plus an equal number of hot pink blooms with a pale frill. The leaves are round, crickled and almost an olive colour when compared to the deep green of the lactifloras.

Boule de Neige
NEW Boule de Neige – A lovely white double,similar to Festiva Maxima but instead of streaking some petals have a very fine frill of magenta. Heavy dark foliage with strong stems. Calot 1867.