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News Bulletins

Our news bulletins are released for Spring, Summer and Autumn each year. Some items from the January 2022 bulletin are given below.

Heritage Tomatoes

A lot of us have had fun growing heritage varieties of tomato; there is a remarkable variety of colours, shapes, tastes and sizes. I still remember a decade ago growing “Orange Peach”, which was peach sized and coloured, and also furry!
So you may be astonished to know that work in a Spanish university (reported in New Scientist) shows that the genetic diversity in European heritage varieties is far less than in the tomatoes you find in supermarkets!
Why? Probably because our heritage varieties were bred by European farmers from just a few plants shipped across the Atlantic with great difficulty in the 1500s. Nowadays, the professional breeders often return to wild plants for useful traits, incorporating greater genetic diversity. (New Scientist: 04/12/21 Michael Le Page)
But that won’t stop me trying out the oddities: I recommend “Yellow Currant”, origin of the saying “life is too short to pick tomatoes”. You need about 30 for a mouthful.

Book Review

I suspect all of us have been perplexed by the movement of plants from one family to another, such as montbretia to crocosmia, or hundreds of others. May I recommend “Genealogy for Gardeners” published by the RHS? I received it for Christmas, and it provides a 2 or 4 page description of each plant family, under headings of size, range, origin (in prehistory), related families, flowers, leaves, and horticultural uses, and it is beautifully illustrated with coloured drawings.

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