Medlars: A delicious snack

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the winter, when all the fruit is long since picked and frosts have long since hit, attention can turn to the lowly Medlar. The Medlar fruit is roundish and often only 1 1/2 inches in diameter. They are brown and funny looking. After frosts they blett which means they soften. The pulp inside tastes like cinnamon applesauce if you can manage to eat it before it bletts to much and starts to ferment and rot.
The trees grow slowly and only to about 10 feet tall and are self fertile. We bud them on pear rootstock, which they seem completely compatible with. The leaves are large, leathery and tropical looking though the tree is easily comfortable in USDA Zones 5-9. What is the best variety? As far as I can tell they all taste about the same and grow equally well. Some do have cooler names like the Monstrueuse de Evreinoff.
An interesting story is that in European pubs, before the availability of modern snacks, you could order yourself a plate of medlars while you drank away your troubles in a public brew house.
Medlars have been eaten for thousands of year’s so a horticultural riddle I made up is what do quinces and medlar’s have in common with McDonald French Fries?
The answer is that they were both cooked in ancient Greece.


Cornus Mas: an edible dogwood

Redstone Cornus Mas (D568)
Redstone Cornus Mas (D568)

These edible dogwoods — Cornus Mas (also known as Cornelian Cherry) have a big seed and delicious pungently flavored flesh. We offer both red and yellow fruited varieties and they both make wonderful jelly. They are ripe now at the Raintree Nursery.

The trees are perfect for a yard growing about 10 to 12 feet tall. They have beautiful yellow flowers in the spring and attractive summer leaves and produce lots of wonderful fruit.

Select two varieties for pollination.


Dayton apple: early ripening, summer dessert apple

Dayton apple,
Dayton apple.

This is a really good year for apple production here at Raintree Nursery and the early ripening apples are abundant.

William’s Pride and Pristine are already ripe and have been collected.

The apple that is ripe now at Raintree is the Dayton.

It is another of the scab and mildew resistant varieties. The large, round fruits are red and have excellent flavor.  Dayton comes from the breeding program of Purdue, Rutgers and Illinois: PRI.

The fruit is large, an attractive glossy red, and matures with ‘Prima’ and 4 weeks before ‘Delicious’. Fruit is well distributed over the tree and hangs for almost 2 weeks without loosing its firmness and dessert quality. It retains its good flavor and firm flesh up to 4 weeks in cold storage (1°C). ‘Dayton’ is released as a potential commercial cultivar for use as a summer dessert apple; in addition, it makes an excellent backyard apple. ~Dayton apple, PRI website

It is a winner in the northeast, northwest, midwest, and will probably does well elsewhere.

The Dayton apple is available for spring shipment. Order and pay — on or before January 1, 2014 — for spring shipment and choose 20% of your spring order subtotal in FREE BONUS ITEMS from selected varieties.


“Big Apple” Cornus Kousa: a rare beauty in spring and fall

Big Apple Cornus Kousa (D585)
A young Big Apple Cornus Kousa (D585) blooming at the Raintree Nursery garden center.

This Korean dogwood, the Big Apple Cornus Kousa, has a youthful and subtle beauty that never fails to capture my attention and draw me in for a closer look with each visit I make to the garden center at Raintree Nursery.

Big Apple Cornus Kousa fruit
Big Apple Cornus Kousa fruit

The light-tinged green to white blossoms of four showy bracts surround a central green cluster are followed by a distinctive, edible red fruit, ripening in autumn. The Big Apple is similar to its cousin, Cornus Kousa, except the fruit is larger and raspberry-like in shape.

Its beautifully spreading, gently rounded canopy of reddish-purple leaves and the cascades of colorful, edible fruit in the fall; the bright green, pointed leaves of summer; the clouds of flowers in the spring; and the added disease resistance of this Korean dogwood makes this tree an interesting addition to the landscape.

This tree is not recommended for the hot, humid South and shipping to Florida is prohibited.

A mature Big Apple Cornus Kousa in full spring bloom.

Karmijn de Sonnaville apple: both sweet and tart

Karmijn de Sonnaville apple
Karmijn de Sonnaville apple

Some people love the taste of sweet apples; others find sweet apples too bland and they prefer the taste of tart apples.

However, the best tasting apples, according to taste-test panels, are apples that are both sweet and tart.

The Karmijn de Sonnaville was rated as both the sweetest and the tartest of apples at the WSU Mt. Vernon Station — that is to say it was highest in sugars AND in acids. That is amazing … both the sweetest and the tartest apple out of at least one hundred other cultivars!!!

It has the wonderfully flavorful Cox’s Orange Pippin as a parent  — and as far as great flavor is concerned, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

If fact, the Karmijnpronounced “Kar-min” (Dutch readers please correct me if I’m wrong), is so powerfully tasty that some people prefer to keep it for a month or more before eating it so that the flavors have time to mellow. Others can’t wait to eat it when its ripe from the tree in October. Others jump up in an attempt to take a bite out of the apple while it’s still on the tree (okay, I got carried away and made that last part up).

The Karmijn de Sonnaville blooms in late mid-season and is a triploid, which means it won’t pollenize other varieties. However most other apples will pollenize it. (See our pollination chart.)

So order a Karmijn de Sonnaville today while they are still available.

It appears people from Holland know a thing or two about growing wonderful plant varieties and everyone there rides bikes. What a country. What an apple!