About ‘Grow’ at Brogdale

Fruit trees grafted by hand from the trees in the national fruit collection, with rare and heritage varieties being our specialism.  Every tree we graft that you take home and plant is a little piece of British history.

We can offer all you need for successful growing in an important part of your living space…your garden, no matter how large or small. We are experienced in tackling large country estate plantings and design as well as cutting edge city fruitscapes. If you are baffled by rootstocks or confused about pollination groups – never fear, we are happy to work through all the options with you to find the trees that are best suited to your space.

Across the team we have horticultural and design expertise as well as rather nifty ideas for thrifty gardens. Edible spaces are our design speciality and we are always open to enquiries. We also offer assisted plantings for education and go out with schools and community groups to offer hands on planting experiences.

Our relationship with you does not end when you have purchased your tree as we pride ourselves on our after sales service.  We guarantee our trees for a period of twelve months (please see our terms & conditions for further details) and will provide free support and advice every step of the way, to ensure that your trees are thriving.

We are continually striving to search out and offer a wide range of fruit trees and associated  products, soft fruit bushes, herbs, perennials , vegetable plants and complementary crafts people and artists. Here at Grow we believe edible gardening creates a beautiful and functional space that is a real experience to move around and savour.

We look forward to being able to help soon. To get in touch have a look at our contact page.

A little history . . .

The National Fruit Collections were first established in Chiswick, London in the early 1800s by the Horticultural Society (now the Royal Horticultural Society) under the guidance of Thomas Andrew Knight. The origin of the Collections stemmed from a need to establish correct nomenclature and accurate cultivar descriptions of temperate fruits grown in the UK.

The first catalogue, published in 1826 and followed by a more detailed edition in 1831, listed some 1400 apples, 677 pear and 360 gooseberry cultivars, although many of these have subsequently been proved synonyms.

The National Fruit Trials and the Collections were established in 1921 at Wisley, Surrey, being initially managed by A.M. Rawes and subsequently by J.M.S. Potter from 1936. The Collections were relocated from Wisley to Brogdale between 1952 and 1954, when the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) assumed complete funding. The present day Collections were largely built up from this time onwards under the direction of J.M.S. Potter until 1972, and by successive Directors of Brogdale.

In 1988 the Collections were registered with the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens (NCCPG) under the National Collections Scheme.

One of the largest collections of apples in the world!

Currently The National Fruit Collections at Brogdale are the largest fruit collection in the world growing on one site and comprise over 4,000 fruit varieties: around 2,400 apples, 500 pears, 280 cherries, 300 plums, 50 hazelnuts, 150 gooseberries, 200 currants (black, red, white and pink), as well as small collections of vines, quinces, medlars and apricots.

The Collections are our national fruit heritage: the varieties that have been grown in gardens and orchards for centuries and which have shaped local communities and our landscapes. They are a living gene bank, which forms part of the UK’s contribution to global food security and both a national and international genetic resource.

The Collections belong to Defra (Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) which funds their maintenance and curatorship. From 1 April 2008 the contract holders are the University of Reading in partnership with FAST (Farm Advisory Service team). Fruit photographs used on our website are used under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

Grow manage the propagation of heritage varieties for the public and orchards as well as run the onsite nursery and growing fruit tree centre. We care passionately about the longevity of the collection and work with local schools and Local Authorities to plant community orchards and individual garden spaces that further increase the planting of unique & heritage fruits.

The Horticultural Traders Association Royal Horticultural Society  National Fruit Collection

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3 days ago

Grow Brogdale
A welcome visitor this morning to one of our espaliers at our customer centre. Sadly, ladybirds are rapidly on the decline mainly due to habitat loss and changes in our climate. Ladybirds are a real gardeners' friend, capable of munching their way through around 5,000 aphids (and other soft bodied plant-eating pests) in their lifetime (which is only 1-2 years).It is worth while trying to encourage ladybirds to your garden. Planting bee friendly, pollen rich plants will help to attract them. They also love to lay their eggs in clusters amongst nettles, so do leave areas of nettles untouched if you can. The bright colour and markings of a ladybird are their own clever way of protecting themselves. If attacked, they will produce a nasty tasting oily substance. Their bright colour serves as a reminder that if "you have tasted one like me before, you will remember how we taste truly revolting !"Ladybirds can be of various shades of orange, red and even yellow and will have different numbers of spots.We would love to see your photos! ... See MoreSee Less
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1 week ago

Grow Brogdale
Are lots of your apples falling early? If so, it may be due to 'false autumn' - a heatwave followed by cool, damp weather that confuses the trees.There's not much that can be done at this point, but in future this kind of event can be mitigated by regular watering and lots of mulch. ... See MoreSee Less
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