Unusual & Old Fashioned Fruit Trees

Greengage + Damson

Greengage are actually a type of plum that is traditionally a little smaller and rounder. The original Greengages were introduced to Britain 250 Years ago by William Gage and seem to have lost favour to the larger fruited plum.

As with plum trees, they are grafted on to a rooting stock and it is this that governs the ultimate size of the tree. Standard and even half standard trees are generally too large for most gardens with bush varieties being better suited. However, some trees are available on a dwarfing stock such as Pixie and will only reach a height of some 15 to 20 feet.

Although Gages tend to flower later in the season than plums they were not as reliable at producing a good crop. This seems to have changed with modern varieties that will grow both more fruit and larger fruits. Some gages need a partner tree, as do some plums, for pollination to produce fruit, but the fruits are said to have more flavour than plums. As with plums trees they have to be watched for "Silver Leaf" and treated accordingly.

Gages can easily be grown as a fan-trained tree, which enables space saving in a small garden and if planted against a south facing wall, they will appreciate the protection afforded as they can be a little tender.

Damsons are another related fruit that has fallen from favour probably because they are not as sweet as plums. However, Damsons are much hardier and will thrive where conditions are impossible for plums. Damsons, such as the old fashioned Merryweather, and Greengages, were traditionally used for making Jam and bottling to preserve them, so that people had some fruit available to eat throughout the year before the modern age with its all year round fruit imports.

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