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In The Orchards Of Kent

April 8, 2019
by the gentle author

When the green shoots are sprouting and the leaves unfurling, who can resist an excursion to view the cherry blossom at the National Collection of Fruit Trees at Brogdale in Kent? This is the largest collection of fruit in the world – as the guides proudly remind you – with two hundred and eighty-five types of cherry among over two thousand varieties of fruit, including apples, pears, plums, currants, quinces and medlars.

As if this were not remarkable enough, I was informed that this particular corner of Kent – at the edge of Faversham – offers the very best conditions in the world for growing cherries. They may have originated in the forests of Central Asia, travelling east and west along the Silk Road before they were introduced by order of Henry VIII nearby at Sittingbourne, but here – I was assured – they have found their ultimate home.

The constitution of the soil in Kent is ideal for cherries and the temperate climate, in which the tender saplings are sheltered from the wind by long hedges of hornbeam, produces a delicacy of flavour in the ripe fruit which cannot by matched by the climactic extremes of the Mediterranean.

It was with these thoughts in mind that I advanced up the track, lined with decorative blossom in those livid pink tones so beloved of mid-twentieth century town planners, before turning the corner of a long hedge to confront the orchard of cherries. There are two specimens of each variety regimented in lines that stretch into the distance. The cherry trees are upon parade, awaiting your inspection and eager to display their flamboyant regalia.

You may also like to take a look at

Blossom Time In The East End

8 Responses leave one →
  1. Jill Wilson permalink
    April 8, 2019

    Lovely stuff!

    And I hope you will have time next month to come to Surrey to marvel at the bluebell woods…

  2. Greg Tingey permalink
    April 8, 2019

    Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
    Is hung with bloom along the bough,
    And stands about the woodland ride
    Wearing white for Eastertide.

    Now, of my threescore years and ten,
    Twenty will not come again,
    And take from seventy springs a score,
    It only leaves me fifty more.

    And since to look at things in bloom
    Fifty springs are little room,
    About the woodlands I will go
    To see the cherry hung with snow.

  3. Helen Breen permalink
    April 8, 2019

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, thank you for that delightful spring excursion to view the cherry trees of Kent. They look so well tended and loved…

  4. Mark Byfield permalink
    April 8, 2019

    Well done!
    Great photos and a lovely read.

    I have very much enjoyed your tree blogs of late. I am a London tree Officer and have found them very informative.

    I do pop into Brogdales now and then and at one time took a group of Tree friends there on Apple day. Well worth a visit.

    Great Blog… I read it every day.


  5. Amanda Root permalink
    April 8, 2019

    Brogdale is also a great place to go to in the Autumn, as you can eat the apples as you walk round.

  6. Pauline Taylor permalink
    April 8, 2019

    Thank you GA, there is very little that surpasses the beauty of cherry blossom except perhaps the taste of the fruit. cherries are my favourite fruit of all time which made it very difficult when,as a student, I went cherry picking, well clipping actually as we had to climb ladders to ‘clip’ bunches of the fruit with big clippers. Happy days.

  7. Leana Pooley permalink
    April 8, 2019

    How joyful and wonderful! A lovely treat for our eyes.

  8. Diana Jones permalink
    April 14, 2019

    Dear GA,

    Thank you for the blog and lovely pictures of the blossom trees. My mother grew up in Gillingham, Kent during the 1920’s and often spoke of her love of the blossom and how much, as a child, she had enjoyed playing in the orchards nearby to where she lived. Her love of springtime and all that it encompasses stayed with her all her life, though sadly she passed away just before spring in February 2017. Spring also happens to be my favourite time of year and the lovely photos you have provided allow one to continue to ‘dip’ into spring at anytime, which is greatly appreciated. Thank you for caring and for your marvellous blogs, keeping the beauty of the seasons of life and lives ‘alive’.

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