26 MAY 1939, Page 19


Set Blossom There is every indication of a bumper season in fruit, of which the humble gooseberry, always associated with Whitsun- tide, is the first-fruits. Seldom was more blossom seen on bigger fruit trees ; and, what is more, much more important to the final crop, no frost has intervened hard enough to cut any blossom except strawberries in some exposed places or dry valleys. One fruit-grower on a large scale said to me as he turned up the leaves of a pear-tree to show the fruit : "If one in twenty of these matures I shall have to spend days in thinning the crop." Certain species of apples, especially cider-apples, are strangely late ; and it is a general rule, the later the safer. However, the dangerous days should now be well past, and there is no sign of any special prevalence of the common pests. Among very early apples there are signs of a revival of that curiously scented apple, the Irish Peach. It has, of course, very much more character than that red-faced and popular friend, the Beauty of Bath. Its nearest rival, Worcester Pearmain, increases in favour less from its own merits than from its use as a fertiliser of the flowers of Cox's Orange Pippin.