This most famous fruit tree of the Santa Clara Valley in California, embodies the essence of summer sunshine in its orange, sugary, juice-burdened orbs wherever it can be grown. Probably a seeding of the 'Royal' apricot of France, it arose as a seedling in the walled domestic gardens attached to Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, and brought to fruition by Miss Shipley, daughter of the chief gardener there, circa 1830. It is still grown as a coddled wall-fruit in Britain, but it acquired its greatest fame when brought to the Pacific coast of America some thirty years later. It demonstrated a superior aptitude in the San Jose district as an orchard fruit for dessert, for canning and as a dried product.
By a strange course of fate (see our weblog) the 'Blenheim' apricot had become confused with its very distinct 'Royal' parent, and the last American tree of the true 'Shipley's Blenheim' lived in the variety collection at U.C. Davis until destroyed in 1984. But not until The Arboreum Company's intrepid propagators had preserved it for our public's enjoyment ... we are the only source for the true variety.Know the 'Shipley's Blenheim' by its blocky, almost stubby round form with a pronounced "nose" at apex, and vivid carmine blush over much of the orange fruit. Flesh is likewise orange, pale around the free pit, rendering ambrosiacal juice in the eating. Self-fertile. Ripens early July. On Citation.