at Hales Hall near Loddon, Norfolk
page created 22nd Feruary 2009
Please note that Read's Nursery has now moved to Bungay and no longer grows citrus. I have kept this page for historic interest, and added a few updates in red.
Ponderosa Lemon. A citron x lemon hybrid.
Shamouti Orange - also known as Jaffa. Citrus sinensis
Some large smooth-skinned citrons - Citrus medica
This rather chlorotic specimen of a red-skinned Australian fingerlime, was inexplicably labelled as 'Fortunella minima', not a name I can find any reference to at all!
I picked up a couple of fallen fruits - the larger one measured about 6cms x 1cm. The sour, yellow flesh consisted of globular vesicules typical of the finger lime, Citrus australasica.
Reads Nursery was designated as holder of the UK's National Collection of Citrus, having taken over most of the famous Rivers collection when that nursery closed in 1982.
They are also specialist growers of inumerable varieties of figs and grapevines, as well as the more usual English fruit trees. When I have visited the nursery, I do get the impression that citrus growing and propagation, and the display of the National Collection, possibly takes second place to these other interests. In some ways this is quite understandable - I doubt if it is possible to compete with the Mediterranean ornamental citrus growers. The cost of heating is high, and growth is slow in English conditions. So - at least in the winter months - the citrus collection is packed into a heated greenhouse about 30m x 5m. Not enough room to adequately display all the plants.
Sadly there is no comprehensive list or description of the collection, and many of the citrus varieties listed in the sale catalogue are out of stock.
updated 7th December 2012
There is currently no-one listed as holder of a National Collection of Citrus -- see http://www.nccpg.com/
Hales Hall Barn is now run as a wedding and event venue.
If you're ever in the city of Norwich, try and find time to travel the dozen miles south-west to the village of Loddon. Then, it's certainly worth driving along the muddy, rutted track to reach the stunning Hales Hall and Barn. The thatched Great Barn, the largest surviving brick-built medieval barn in Britain, and the Hall itself, date from the time of Henry VII, and surround a beautiful garden. To one side is part of the original protective moat, and behind the barn is the family owned and run Reads Nursery, which has been in existence since 1841.