This section is from the book "The Fruit Manual: Containing The Descriptions And Synonyms Of The Fruits And Fruit Trees Of Great Britain", by Robert Hogg. Also available from Amazon: The Fruit Manual.
Fruit, large, round, and depressed. Skin, very pale, speckled with red in the shade, marbled with deeper colour next the sun. Suture, deep, and broad at the top, extending round almost the whole circumference of the fruit. Flesh, pale yellowish white, very red at the stone, very juicy, rich, and highly flavoured. Flowers, small. Leaves, without glands.
Ripens in the end of August and beginning of September.
Mr. Blackmore says "it is worthless at Teddington. The fruit, as soon as set, is whitewashed with mildew."
The first mention we have of the Royal George is by Switzer, who says it was raised by his "ingenious and laborious friend, Mr. Oram, of Brompton Lane." He describes it as "flattish and pretty large, with a dark red coat on the sunny side, the flower is one of the large whitish kind." "Earlier than the Anne, of great esteem, and inferior to none that comes after it." At the time Switzer wrote this account of it (1724), George the First was on the throne, and, no doubt, the peach was named in honour of him. This must therefore have been the original Royal George. But that which is now cultivated under this name is a very different variety with small flowers, which seems to have superseded the original one. This is not surprising, when we find from Switzer's account that "such is its aversion to unite with stocks in general, and so sad a destruction does it make in the nursery stocks, that I find all nurserymen are weary of it."
There is every probability that the high reputation the Royal George of Oram attained, and the difficulty of its propagation, induced other cultivators to substitute a variety which could be more easily multiplied, and this they found in Millet's Mignonne, which was also new at the same time, and was introduced by Millet, a nurseryman at North End, Fulham, and it has continued to represent the Royal George ever since. So late as the beginning of the present century Forsyth describes the flowers of Royal George as large.
I have no doubt that the original Royal George of Oram was a seedling from
Grosse Mignonne, and little different from that variety; and it is not improbable that it may have been what Grimwood afterwards grew as Grimwood's Royal George, which is a form of Grosse Mignonne. This being so, the difficulty of propagation is easily explained, for the Grosse Mignonne and Grimwood's Royal George require to be budded on the Pear Plum or Damas Noir stocks.
John Millet, whose name is associated with this peach, was one of the earliest who practised forcing gardening. Bradley, writing early in the eighteenth century, says, "I have seen in his garden ripe cherries in February, and apricots, roses, and jonquils about three months before their natural seasons .... and this he does with the assistance of horse-dung, judging it to yield a more gentle sweating heat than fire."
Royal Kensington. See Grosse Mignonne. Royal Sovereign. See Grosse Mignonne. St. Laurent Jaune. See Bosanna.