Adding new trees to our range is an important part of what we do at Frank P Matthews. Over the years we have introduced some of the very best varieties of fruit and ornamental trees to the market and at any one time we will have lots of potential new trees on trial. See below our new varieties for 2020/2021.
Breeding, selecting and sourcing exciting new trees is a long-term process that, with patience, can yield excellent results. It is worth noting that over 98% of trees in our trial orchards are ultimately discarded as not being good enough - but every so often one comes through that is special enough to propagate and promote. Even when a variety is identified as worth shouting about, it can take several more years to build up sufficient stock to include it in our catalogue.
The search for new varieties is ongoing and makes the palette of trees continually more interesting for growers and gardeners alike. With fruit trees we look for improved or original flavour, better yields and disease resistance; for ornamentals we may be hunting for special flowers, berries, form, leaves or bark. Nature can conjure up some wonderful surprises: sometimes these can be subtle, occasionally delightfully dramatic.
Old favourites such as apple ‘Cox’ and plum ‘Victoria’ were themselves once new and since their arrival on the horticultural scene thousands of others have been bred or discovered. Ornamental trees such as Magnolias have been cross-pollinated by individual breeders to create a tremendous range and seedling selections of Betula and Sorbus continue to add more colour and shape to our gardens. The choice is now wider than ever so there really is a tree for every space and taste.
Many of the apples grown commercially today were either chance seedlings found by accident or raised by professional and amateur breeders. Successful breeders are rare and have instinctive natural abilities and none come more acclaimed than Hugh Ermen. Hugh sadly passed away in 2009 but his legacy lives on in numerous superb varieties such as the apples ‘Scrumptious’, ‘Herefordshire Russet’, ‘Limelight’ and ‘Winter Gem’. Some of Hugh’s unnamed trees are still being monitored in our orchards today.
Other varieties were discovered by chance such as the incredible apple ‘Christmas Pippin’, spotted growing by an English motorway and proving to be one of the most tasty and reliable late apples we have produced. Another recent introduction ‘Rosette’ was found in a garden in Worcestershire as a natural ‘sport’ of ‘Discovery’, offering a richer flavour and attractive red-blushed flesh, making it one of the best early apples and unbeatable for juicing.
We also work in partnership with plant breeders all over the world to help develop new varieties and bring the most promising to the UK market. Organisations, individual breeders and nurseries such as Artevos, Bayerische Obstzentrum, Gräb Nursery in Germany and Botden van Willegan Nursery in Holland have links to or their own interesting breeding programmes that give us access to yet more new fruit and ornamental trees. Some of these come from the commercial fruit growing industry and others from more specialist programmes. The science involved in breeding is becoming increasingly sophisticated opening up more possibilities of hybridisation and through the rapid identification of genetic markers. And much of the work involves improving the rootstocks available as well as the varieties themselves.
You can find more about our partnership nurseries by clicking on the links below:
Every summer when we release our new catalogue the one question we always get asked by our customers is ‘what new varieties are there?’ and we are always delighted to discuss our latest selections. The interest they generate and the positive feedback we get continues to reassure us that the investment is worthwhile.
Acer x pseudosieboldianum 'Ice Dragon'
This is a finely cut leaf which turns a kaleidoscope of orange yellow and red in autumn. Ideal for exposed sites.Full Details>
Cercis canadensis 'Golden Falls'
Steeply pendulous small tree with glowing golden yellow heart-shaped leaves. Pink flowers cover the branches in April/May.Full Details>
Cercis canadensis Rising Sun
Davidia involucrata 'Sonoma'
Pocket Hankerchief, Ghost or Dove Tree
An early flowering cultivar of Dove tree with large white bracts in late May from year one.Full Details>
Little Sweet Sister
A compact dwarf autumn fruiting raspberry. Medium sized dark red with a sweet mild flavour.Full Details>
Magnolia Fairy Blush ('MicJur01')™
Semi-evergreen shrub with glossy, dark green leaves. Olive green buds open to lightly fragrant, lilac-pink flowers.Full Details>
Magnolia Fairy Cream ('MicJur02')™
A semi-evergreen shrub or small tree producing fragrant cream, cup shaped flowers appear along the length of the stems in spring.Full Details>
Magnolia Fairy White ('MicJur05')™
A semi-evergreen variety with an upright growth habit, flowering from a young age. The pure white blooms appear in early spring.Full Details>
Malus 'Scarlet Brandywine'
Rounded shape, fragrant dark rose-pink double flowers, pumpkin-orange fruit and excellent disease resistance.Full Details>
Small deep pink blossoms resemble a powder puff. Leaves are bronze when they emerge, mature to dark green in summer.Full Details>
Small tree with spreading habit ideal for small gardens. Semi double honey scented shell pink flowers have contrasting purple caly...Full Details>
Prunus persica 'Terute Red'
An upright tree with a neat habit. Delicate semi-double red flowers adorn the branches in February.Full Details>
Prunus persica 'Terute Rose'
An upright tree with a neat habit. Delicate semi-double rose pink flowers adorn the branches in February.Full Details>
Prunus persica 'Terute White'
An upright tree with a neat habit. Delicate semi-double white flowers adorn the branches in February.Full Details>
Styrax japonicus 'June Snow'
A compact form of the summer flowering small tree. White snowdrop flowers from June onwards.Full Details>
Dark red-skinned and red-fleshed early cooking apple. Pretty pink blossom and attractive leaves.Full Details>
Ulmus x 'Wingham'
Highest resistance to Dutch Elm Disease of all Elms. An attractive tree, also an excellent host for the rare White-letter Hairstre...Full Details>