NOW IS THE TIME
MULBERRY STAINS A young mother wrote saying she had purple stains everywhere from mulberries being tracked in by her two small children. I could identify with her as I have stopped picking my Persian mulberries for a similar reason; I couldn't avoid getting stains all over me and my clothing. (Anyway, originally, I really had planted it for the birds) Here's where the old adage, "when you get a lemon, make lemonade" applies. After the tree fruits, cut the tree down to 3 or 4 feet and then in early spring, graft on the new, superior, non staining variety, Pakistani or the White mulberry, if you like it.
WHAT'S IN A NAME? Even our own CRFG member, Todd Kennedy, agricultural attorney and amateur fruit
historian, has trouble unraveling the Royal Blenheim apricot mystery. According to a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Royal was probably a seedling planted around 1815 at the Luxem-borg Gardens in Paris.
About 20 years later, the daughter of a man named Shipley, who was the head gardener at the Blenheim Palace in England, planted a Royal seed. The tree thrived and became known as the Royal Shipley or Blenheim. During World War 1, when dried fruit was no longer being imported from Europe, there was a great demand for apri-cot trees. Kennedy surmises growers shipped whatever they had on hand and the varieties¹ identities became compromised.
The Royal/Blenheim may not attain the eye appeal and size of later developed varieties but it is still believed to be the best for flavor and for drying. It does not withstand the rigors of supermarket hand-ling, but can be found
in farmers markets. Kennedy thinks it is an endangered fruit and may go the way of the Greengage plum unless backyard gardeners maintain it. It has been noted that some Royal/Blenheim trees in a few Orange County locales only produce in very cold years; others claim their tree fruits every year. So, maybe we can't unravel the name, but we can bring scion wood of the yearly fruiting trees to the scion wood exchange and label it as such. Then those of you who have a tree that seldom produces could stump it and later graft on the more desirable variety. Or, we could
sell the Nemaguard peach root-stock and every one could plant and graft their own productive Royal/Blenheim tree.