Blossom time will be here again after this long, cold and wet winter. Pruning is all behind as the trees are surrounded by mud, however it will be done in the next few weeks and the sun is shining today.
Over the winter I have been challenged with constructive suggestions by several visitors to this site. My observations are confined to a very local area (The Isle of Wight in the very south of the United Kingdom) with a few things added from received wisdom in books I have read etc. I have learnt that season and flowering are not necessarily the same in other countries. In my experience the apples in our garden always flower in the same order, Red Siberian Crab first and Crawley Beauty last but I have noticed that in years like 2012 the early apples flowered as normal and we then had a cold spell and the last apple, Crawley Beauty flowered long after all the others had gone. Usually there are still a few flowers on the Bramley at the same time and I had assumed this was what pollinated it. This year no other blossom at all and we still had a reasonable crop. Is it self fertile? not mentioned in any reference or book. This long delay in flowering times makes nonsense of stating that an apple flowers so many days after another? I used the information from Bultitude for this as I could not possibly know the flowering time for every apple. Help please from those more experienced than me. Do I go back to pollination groups? or what?
Help also please with 'season' when the apple is ready to use. As already stated storage conditions affect this greatly but is this information useful and how can I make it better? I can't really cope with world wide, this is a very local site, but how can I help?
Also the shape chart, this has not seemed totally satisfactory to me. On reflection and after discussion with another visitor to the site I am going to change it, fewer shapes and a few examples come to mind, but any ideas and thoughts welcome please.