The number of gardeners growing fruit has rocketed in recent years and soft fruit, in particular, has become very popular. So the completion of a three year raspberry trial comes at a very timely moment. Coupled with the fact that raspberries are no longer only sold as bar root canes by mail order in the autumn but also now in spring as plants in large pots in garden centres, it’s time to take a look at the results of the trial.
Sixteen summer varieties and eleven autumn fruiting varieties were grown. Just ten canes of each variety were planted so it was easy to see how a modest, garden-size planting would perform. Ten varieties were given an Award of Garden Merit – five for summer and five for autumn cropping. Six of the ten gained awards for the first time. It was also recommended that two varieties with existing AGMs have them removed.
The star of the whole trial, and a new award-winner, was 'Tulameen' (above, click to enlarge). Even early in the trials the judges said: “'Tulameen' has performed very well and appears to be much better than the rest. A good variety, with good flavour, pickability and weight of fruit.” The other new award went to ‘Glen Magna’ while ‘Glen Ample’ (left, click to enlarge), 'Malling Admiral' and 'Malling Jewel' were still up to AGM quality had their earlier awards re-confirmed.
‘Glen Ample’ was notable for producing 2kg of fruit per cane – in its first year, with 'Tulameen' close behind.
Amongst the autumn-fruiting varieties ‘Autumn Bliss’ retained the AGM it’s had since 1993 and four new awards were made, to 'All Gold', 'Caroline', 'Joan J' and 'Polka'. With varieties from the summer group and from the autumn group, you can now look forward to a long season of top class, AGM raspberries. But not 'Glen Moy' and 'Glen Prosen', the judging panel decided that those two had had their day and others are now better.