Friday, 3 October 2014

Spring In Flower: Peaches and Nectarines

“Life is better than death, I believe, if only because it is less boring, and because it has fresh peaches in it.” 
Alice Walker

Let me start this post by introducing you to the Double Jewel peach – a peach of such outstanding beauty when in flower that I planted one in my front yard as an ornamental.

Not content with being such a show stopper in spring it also grows well (by that I mean quickly) in Perth conditions (heat, wind, dry and rubbish soil) and the fluffy pompoms of blossom become large, juicy, yellow free-stone fruit with a taste that I particularly like: a great peach flavour with a slightly sharp aftertaste which gives it a fresh zing. 

I highly highly recommend this peach. It is distributed by Flemings in Australia, so there is no doubt a stockist near you (when I googled this I also noticed some stockists in the US).

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, apart from my new dwarf nectarines that I featured a few weeks back, I have two full-sized nectarine trees and one other peach. The other peach, a Flavourcrest variety has medium sized fruit of good flavour.  In the photo above the double jewels are the 3 large peaches, the smaller one is a Flavourcrest and the bright red at the back is a Maygrand nectarine.It has your standard peach/nectarine type blossom, which is still totally beautiful.

The blossom shown here is actually my Maygrand nectarine. This tree has outstandingly flavoured bright red yellow-fleshed free-stone fruit that are only small to medium in size. Both these trees are medium chill and so don’t produce as well as the lower chill varieties in Perth.

My other nectarine, a Fairlane, has completely different flowers again. This one has blossom that reminds me of something you might see in a Japanese painting. My guess, judging by the numbers of flowers on it, is that this tree is also low-chill. My fruit-growing book wasn’t sure and had it as ‘Medium?’. I don’t know much about the taste at this stage since the fruit I was trying to keep from being attacked by fruit fly last year fell off. I am hoping it is a nectarine that I bought in the shops and then went searching to try and work out which variety it was – a large, yellow coloured late season fruit. Fingers crossed.

If you are a fan of peaches and nectarines it is probably worth the effort to grow your own. They need sunshine to develop their full flavour - you can’t buy the flavour of a tree ripened peach or nectarine in a shop. It can’t be beaten.

Happy gardening!

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