Potted Tree Availability List – June 2018

Availability List (June 2018) of Trees at Blackhaugh Farm, Spittalfield

Please phone Andrew on 07749987213 to view or reserve these trees!

All In 12 litre pots  
APPLES £18 each  
M27 very dwarfing stock suitable for small gardens and containers PLUMS £20 each
Bloody Ploughman Blaisdon Red
Port Allen Russet Marjorie’s Seedling
Sunset Opal
King of the Pippins Denniston’s Gage
Fortune Shropshire Prune
Liberty PEARS £20 each
Lass of Gowrie Christie
Katy Conference
Howgate Wonder Beth
M26 dwarfing stock for cordons and small gardens Other trees: £20 each
Ribston Pippin Medlar Nottingham
Saturn Quince Portugal
Windsor Peach Peregrine
Tower of Glamis  
Discovery FANS and ESAPALIER trained trees £25 each.
Fortune Port Allen Russet
Discovery Beauty of Moray
Scot’s Bridget Opal Plum
Bloody Ploughman Others tbc.
Morgan Sweet  
Worcester Pearmain
MM106 semi-vigorous for gardens and orchards
Beauty of Moray
Cambusnethen Pippin
Lass O Gowrie
Bloody Ploughman
Annie Elizabeth
Reinette Grise
Exeter Cross
Belle De Boskoop
Maggie Sinclair
Tam Jeffrey


Potted Trees Availability 2018

Potted Tree Availability List May 2018



Scottish Apples:


  mm106 /116 M26 M27 M9 V. Dwarf Fan / Espalier
Arbroath Oslin 6   1    
Beauty Of Moray 1       1
Bloody Ploughman 14 2 3   2
Hood’s Supreme     1    
James Grieve – Red 2        
Lady of the Lake         1
Lass O’ Gowrie 1        
Lord Roseberry          
Scot’s Bridget 1`       1
Stirling Castle 1        
Stobo Castle 1        
Tam Jeffrey 7       1
Tower of Glamis         1
Maggie Sinclair 1        
Port Allen Russet     1    
Tam Montgomery ( Early Julian)         1
Thorle pippin 1        

Annie Elizabeth

Adam’s Pearmain         3
Alkmene ( Red Windsor)          
Ard Cairn Russet          
  106 / 116 26 27 9 Fan/Espalier
Discovery   3 1   2
Exeter Cross 1        
George Cave       1  
Howgate Wonder     1    
Jupiter         2
Katy 2   2   5
Keswick Codlin 1       1
Kidd’s Orange Red       1 1
Laxton’s Fortune   2 4   1
Monarch 1        
Red Devil         1
Sunset 1   1   2
Worcester Pearmain 1 2     1
Less Important:          
Beauty of Bath         1
Chivers Delight         1
Devonshire Quarrenden 1        
King of the Pippins     2    
Red Astrachan 1        
Laxton’s Superb         2
Liberty     1    
Red Windsor   2      
Saturn   1      
St Edmund’s Pippin         1

Andalucia and a Million Olive Trees



Last year I reported on a trip to  the Jerte Valley in Extradamura where I saw many Cherry trees. And in fact upon my return i found them for sale at a farm shop in Angus! Last month ( March)  I was again in Spain and visited both Madrid and Cordoba Botanic Gardens. Both had collections of herbs and fruit trees, but Cordoba also had splendid indoor displays of Olive, Vine and other traditional crops used for making baskets. However my best experience was seeing the extent of Olive growing in the south of Spain as I literally cycled through 200km of Olive Orchards! I am beginning to get the impression that Spain does its horticulture at a big scale. If ever there were a disease to hit these trees, then the economy of the region would collapse overnight.

The last of the trees along the Via Verde del Aceite were being harvested as i cycled by in early March; I scrumped a few, and was surprised to find them bitter and producing a red stain on my fingers. So much for olive green!



Apparently ( according to wiki) they all need to be partially fermented to make them palatable. I saw men using sticks and a Stihl machine with a long vibrating pole to shake off the last fruits, which were then raked up by hand.

Surprisingly few varieties are grown commercially, and the dozen or so countries growing them tend to have their own favourite varieties. It is a growing industry, olives as we know being associated with healthy diets. Spain is by far the biggest producer, followed by Italy, Greece, Turkey and Morocco, with US and China all getting in on the act it seems.

It is suggested that they are not self-fertile, so a mix of varieties is necessary. I couldn’t discern a mix of trees myself, but there were orchards with a slightly greener leaf colour. The pollen can cause considerable irritation and it is windblown to boot. Glad I don’t live next door to an Olive Farm!

My biggest concern was the fact that there was no ground flora beneath these orchards, or very rarely a patch of yellow flowers, and as a consequence the heavy rains have caused a considerable amount of erosion on the hillsides. The area I travelled through was predominantly limestone and I would have expect to see a good number of flowers.


Pruning was being carried out in many orchards, and seems to be quite brutal with big limbs being cut out of the middle of the trees with chainsaws. Presumably this is to let light in, and to facilitate easier harvesting with many horizontal branches. The spacing between the trees was very wide, well over 8m. Only later from the train window did I see some intensive orchards, with trees planted very close together in lines 3m apart or so. These were quite possibly pruned with hedgetrimmers. I wonder what the productivity is of these trees compared to the more extensive systems? Unfortunately i couldn’t find anyone to ask.

However i’m now back home and enjoying some big Olives Margaret bought at the Deli in Dunkeld. Alas I don’t know where they came from but I will be taking more interest as to where they originated and the variety in future!


Andrew March 2018.


Fruit Tree Availability List Jan 2018

We are in the process of stocktaking, and we have the following available:




Arbroath Oslin – 13                       Laxton’s Fortune – 4

Hawthornden – 2                           Bloody Ploughman – 13

Belle de Boskoop – 6                     Thorle Pippin – 1

Maggie Sinclair – 3                        Kidd’s Orange Red – 2

Ard Cairn Russet – 6                     Adam’s Pearmain – 3

Cutler Grieve – 5                          Bramley Seedling – 1

Beauty of Moray – 7                      Katy – 1

Exeter Cross – 5                           Emneth Early – 1

Fiesta – 3                                      Seaton House – 1

Annie Elizabeth – 11                       Ribston Pippin – 1

Charles Ross – 2                            Charles Ross – 7

Early Julyan – 8                            Herefordshire Russet – 5

East Lothian Pippin – 5                  Red Devil – 1

Lass o’ Gowrie – 20                      Tydeman’s Late Orange – 1

Howgate Wonder – 3                    Kidd’s Orange Red – 6

Hood’s Supreme – 2                      Exeter Cross – 4

Liberty – 4                                             Adam’ Pearmain – 3

Monarch – 10                                 Laxton’s Fortune – 3

Port Allen Russet – 7                    Red Windsor – 2

Reinette Gris – 9                          Saturn – 2

Stoke Red – 1                                George Cave – 1

Stirling Castle – 12                       Hood’s Supreme – 15

Stobo Castle – 8


Wild Crabs and Runaways

Crab Apple


What an amazing harvest this year, ‘bushelfuls’ of apples and some very big ripe pears too! Our apple masher and press has been put to very good use, the record probably achieved at a busy Blairgowrie Market with over 350 litres of juice produced. Many people are noticing that a mix of cookers and eaters makes the best juice, the extra acidity giving it a wow factor.

The William’s pear tree opposite the cross roads at Caputh was hanging with beautiful ripe yellow pears just last week. Glad to see someone has picked them now. And many a pear on a south facing wall have done well this year.

However, our heritage pears in Scotland can often be like little bullets for weeks, then suddenly go soft in the middle! Very different to shop bought pears. You need to keep testing them and get them on the right day.

The warm weather in May really got our fruit expanding well, my James Grieves and many others being a good size and colour this year. Despite the wet weather in August, scab lesions have been relatively low this year.

Here at Middlebank we have hardly been able to keep up with the falling fruit….and many have rolled down the hill to the delight of our neighbours! There are disadvantages to planting trees on a hill! Also our Worcester Pearmain has been underplanted with various perenials and roses, all making collecting windfalls impossible. So the lesson is, plant your trees in your lawn ideally!

Budding percentages were very high last August, resulting in a very good crop of trees for sale this winter. And they have continued to grow in the warm summer, so feel free to come and inspect before ordering, though some popular varieties are now almost sold out.

Foraging ( and scrumping) has been very rewarding this season too, ranging from Seaweeds from Saltcoats, Mirabelles from Murthly and Birch Boletes from Birnam….. but note we only take a few for our own use. We saw a forager waltz off to a local chef with what he thought was a basket of Chanterelles in Dunkeld, and no protest from Margaret could dissuade him otherwise of his catch! Beware a little bit of knowledge can be dangerous! We have avoided the local hotels as a consequence!

My favourite little Crab Apple high up on Birnam Hill was fabulous in flower, but alas produced a poor crop of crabs. I have saved a few from the voles, and intend to sow them for replanting somewhere wild in a few years!

Happy foraging and harvesting all!

Cherries in Jerte Valley

On my travels in Spain in April I came across an amazing horticultural enterprise on the border between Castille y Leon and Extremadura.

I took a bus from Avila at !200m elevation, down to Plasencia at 400m, which takes you off the high plains and winds down between the heights of the Gredos Mountains.  And it is here that my eyes were astounded by the numbers of flowering cherry trees that line the valley for the next 40 km!  Lots of terraces well up the mountainside allow cherry planting almost to the summits on either side! Hundreds of thousands of trees! One website suggests there are 10,000 ha. and as many as 4,000 growers. The orchards spread east and west on terraced land.cherries jerte valley

Further investigation took me back up the valley to a Cherry Museum where I learnt that these trees are part of one big co-operative and make their way into a variety of products. I was very lucky to catch the end of the flowering season, the hot weather shortening this somewhat this year.

So i wonder, has anyone come across Jerte Valley cherries in this country? The variety grown is the Picota though judging by some late flowers, a few others are planted too. The co-op supplies Lidl so look out for the fruits later in the year. One of the production sheds processes 40,000kg per day!

This is horticulture on an industrial scale!  Maybe we can learn something here relevant to Scotland?  I am passionate about the loss of horticulture in the Glens of Scotland, a result of hundreds of years of depopulation, yet here in rural Spain it has survived and thrived despite a similar history of emigration to the Spanish colonies.

I often get cars stopping at the field to ask what I am growing in one of the Perthshire Glens and always get a surprised look when I say it is apple trees! Just imagine if it was a whole valley of apple trees from Pitlochry and Aberfeldy to Perth!

See: http://cerezadeljerte.org/en/jerte-valley/ for more information….you can even spend a few days picking fruit with the farmers if you want! A great place to see the real Spain, with many mountain biking and hiking trails too. And the Albergue Santa Anna in Plasencia is one of the nicest hostels I have ever stayed in!

Andrew, 2017


Tree Orders

We are making preparations to lift bare root trees in 3 weeks time, so please get your orders in soon for fruit trees and soft fruit ! Our catalogue can be found on the website or just send your enquiry by email.


You may have come across Aronia juice, a new superfood full of anti-oxidants, but are you aware we can grow them here in Scotland? Aronias have the common name ,Chokeberries, a name which doesn’t do it any favours!

It is a small deciduous shrub, several of which I have been growing in my field for the black fruits and lovely white flowers in spring.The fruits are  about 7mm wide, similar to blueberries or even blackcurrants, and with no big seed inside like a damson.

There are several species and varieties. The Black Chokeberry is A. melanocarpa, A. arbutifolia is the Red Chokeberry, the hybrid of the two is the Purple Chokeberry, prunifolia. I haven’t tasted the red form, I wonder if there’s one in a botanic garden somewhere?  They are reportedly sweeter.

They are all native to North Eastern United States. though some naturalization has occurred in Europe. They have a long history of use by native American Indians as a food, medicine and a dye plant.

They are very hardy, and equally heat tolerant in the US zones from 3 to 8.

The varieties “Brilliant’ , ‘Nero’, ‘Viking’ and ‘Autumn Magic’ can all be found in Garden Centres and have been selected for their fabulous autumn colouring. They are however all strikingly attractive wee shrubs for the shrubbery or woodland edge. Viking can grow to 6 feet, Nero is shorter, at 4 feet, but has larger fruit.

The leaves are reportedly used to make a tea, but it is the slightly earthy tasting, mildly sweet black berries in summer which are of most interest. My two year old little black chokeberry bushes produced a really nice crop last summer. Eaten straight off the bush I rather liked them ….so many apples and pears these days are too sweet for my taste.

The native black chokeberry is only 1.5m high and spreads by root suckers to about 3m wide, so it forms a nice compact little bush. The red form is a touch taller.

Aronias have been grown in Europe for a long time now, but only recently been considered a commercially viable crop. In Poland, many thousands of hectares have been planted for juicing. They use a selected form, Galicjanka, a tetraploid Nero form specially chosen for planting in rows and for harvesting by machine. It was selected at the Institute of Pomology in Albigowa, South East Poland for its productivity and evenness of ripening.Despite being of the rosaceae family, they are all reported to be relatively pest free and tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, though preferably not too wet, and definitely not too dry. Not a problem here! Watch out for powdery mildew though.

Varieties are all propagated by root suckers. We have a few to sell here at the nursery ; more varieties will be sourced and trialed in future years!

A.Lear. 2016.