Koanga Gardens Heirloom Fruit Trees

The Koanga Garden Heirloom Fruit Tree Collection has been put together by Kay Baxter, who has searched Northland and other areas looking for the wonderful old fashioned fruit varieties planted last century. These varieties have been chosen for taste, disease resistance, reliability and usefulness in the home garden, especially for those wanting to grow under organic conditions.

The information regarding variety descriptions, ripening times etc. is intended as a guide from information Kay has sourced, observing and growing these varieties for many seasons at Koanga Gardens in Northland. This information is intended as a 'guide only not a bible' as it is specific to Northlands Bioregion. Your Bioregion is likely to be very different and therefore it is very hard for us to say how each particular crop will do.

All the Koanga apples have been grown organically, something we hope to apply to all of the Koanga Heirloom Collection in time. This is something we here at Edible Garden are committed to. We hope to make our footprint on this earth lighter and this is one way, in which we can ensure this happens. No chemicals in the soil to control weeds and no synthetic fertilisers to enhance growth.

We are proud that a Royalty is paid back to Koanga Gardens so that htey can continue their valuable work in maintaining the collection and seeking out more Heirloom varieties.

Kay has written 2 books, which will be very useful in planning and maintaining your orchard

  • 'Designing Your Own Orchard' Permaculture design, choosing your fruit trees etc.
    $ 35.00
  • "Koanga Garden Guide" A complete guide to gardening organically and sustainably. $54.00 (This Koanga GardenGuide replaces the Permaculture Month by Month)


    Mature Height 4 -5 m A particularly good rootstock for heavy clay soils and will grow into a large, strong tree. Does not seem to need watering or mulching can be kept at $ metres with pruning.
  • Merton 793
    Mature Height 5-6 m. A particularly good rootstock for heavy clay soils . Grows into a large strong tree.
  • MM106
    Mature Height 3 - 4 m - A semi-dwarfing rootstock that enjoys free draining soils.


    Bright red streaky fruit, which are very sweet and juicy with excellent flavour. Medium vigour and a reliable cropper that ripens in March. Bred in N.Z., and came to us from Warkworth. Available on MM106 , Northern Spy.
    A small, sweet very early apple ripening Christmas to mid January. Green-yellow skin with bright red streaks when ripe. Golden Delicious parentage is obvious by sweetness and flavour. An outstanding early apple which is a precocious heavy bearer. Available on MM106 and Northern Spy.
    A late apple of medium to large size with flat green skin, and gold russet on top. A beautiful dessert apple, good for drying, cooking, and juicing. Excellent old-fashioned full flavour. Selected from thousands of seedlings in the Hokianga by Mr Knaggs in the 1840'™s and named after the boat he arrived in. N.Z. Heirloom. Available on MM106 and Northern Spy.
    (Originated in France and recorded before 1771)
    A late/ very late season apple of medium size. Skin is a pale green covered with brown russet and a firm creamy white flesh, green under the skin. It is an excellent dessert apple being juicy and spicy, also good processing, stores up to six months. Home garden variety. Available on, MM106 and Northern Spy.

Sequential order of apple ripening, ensuring plentiful apples throughout the season:
Early Strawberry '“ Captain Kidd '“ Reinette du Canada - Mayflower

APRICOTS - Peach rootstock, mature height 3-4 m

  • PAHI
    A large mid season apricot with good texture and flavour. A reliable cropper in Northland where it is a self-fertile variety. Ex Kaipara.
    An apricot that was sourced from Auckland, where it fruits well, suggesting that it does not need much winter chilling to fruit successfully. A med to large sized fruit which is partially self fertile. Ready in mid January.
    A medium size apricot with midseason fruit. A strong syrupy apricot flavour, orange flesh and skin when ripe, they can be picked when yellow and they will ripen to a firm orange. Tree ripened are softer with a very good taste. This tree crops well in Northland and is self-fertile. Ex Waipapakauri.


  • Grows 2-3 metres.
  • '˜ADAM'™ Elderberry'™s are fast growing, early producers of large bunches of berries in the warmer areas of New Zealand. Require high moisture and fertile soil. Flowers are great for making elder flower lemonade or champagne. The berries are good to eat and make excellent jelly wine as well as having medicinal properties.


  • Mature height 3 metres
    Late, large round green skinned figs with dark red very sweet pulp. Huge reliable crops of good for dessert, jam, wine and bottling. Not generally affected by birds and fruit ripens well on the tree in the North. It is not suitable for Southern districts. These figs were boiled down to make a fig 'cake' that was used for sweetening in the days of the early settlers, before 'white sugar'. N. Z. Heirloom.
    Small dark skinned, pink fleshed fig, creamy texture with very sweet skin. The fig is so sweet that it should be eaten skin and all. An early fig and best for marginal areas that may experience cooler summer, ripens March '“ early April.
    A fig grown by early settlers around the Kaipara Harbour, selected from the Hydnmyn'™s farm in Kaiwaka. A small fig with a purple skin and a silky pink centre, beautiful eaten fresh but they also dry and bottle better than many others. If the fig is not pruned it will have 2 crops the first ready around xmas and the next March/April.
    A very large, long shaped fig which has 2 crops, one at Xmas and another in March. The first or Breba crop are said to be HUGE! The fig has green skin, which turns amber when ripe and has a light red flesh. The fig comes from the Kaeo district & has been known since 1832 and came to Koanga via Jim Cox'™s Heirloom collection.

Sequential order of ripening for the main crop of Figs
Black - Hydnmyns - Kaeo - Adriatic


    A grape from Bishop Pompallier'™s own plantings in Northland. A disease resistant large black sweet grape reputed to be the best tasting in the North.
    A large black grape, whose wood was originally collected from a very old Dalmatian orchard in Kohukohu. They have been naturalised there as outstanding in disease resistance and flavour. Large dessert grape with lots of flavour and is apparently an old Daly wine grape with a strong flavour.
    A very early white dessert grape which is very sweet with a good mild flavour. One of the few dessert grapes that can be grown organically making it a must for the home gardener. Ripens early March. N.Z. Heirloom.


  • Male and Female plants potted in the same container, each labelled seperatly.
  • Type of kiwifruit about the size of a medium plum with hairless skin like a grape. They have a much higher sugar level than a kiwifruit, making them very sweet, with a kiwifruity flavour, can be eaten like grapes. A real delicacy with huge potential as a dried fruit. An extremely ornamental vine with fine leaves and red new growth. Male arguta or delicosa can be used to pollinate the female. Pollination by arguta rather than kiwi fruit gives slightly bigger fruit. Fruit ripens in Feb.

    When you plant the Cocktail Kiwifruit, seperate from each other and plant 1-2 metres apart, dont plant in the same hole together it is to much competition.


  • On Plum Myrobalan and Peach Rootstock. Mature height 3 '“ 4 m.
    A smooth skinned nectarine with flesh similar to the blackboy peach. Ripens in February. Originated in the Auckland area.
    Medium sized, mid season, white fleshed with red over green skin. Dessert quality with a sweet flavour. Available on Peach and Mariana Rootstocks.
    An, old Goldmine type of nectarine with fruit of medium to large size with a granny smith green skin darkening to almost a burgundy red tone over the top. The flesh is white but almost green in some fruit, very sweet tasting. A lovely looking freestone nectarine. Ready mid Feb. Available on Peach Rootstock.


  • On Plum Myrobalan and Peach Rootstocks. Mature height 3 '“ 4 m.
    A medium sized peach with honey coloured skin with red blush on top. Very unusual firm texture, excellent flavour, sweetness. Ripens March and sometimes early April. Ex seedling tree found at Batley (Kaipara Harbour).
    Small/medium sized, with dark red grey skin, bright port red and white streaky flesh. A freestone variety which ripens in late Feb. The fruit is juicy with a strong flavour and is good for dessert or bottling. 'The only Blackboy we know to crop heavily in Northland' '“ Kay Baxter. Ex Kaiwaka. Available on Peach Rootstock only.
    Extremely disease resistant tree, heavy cropper of small very sweet, good flavoured fruit.
    Very early flowering, ripening peach with fruit ready from mid- November to early December and ripening over a 2 week period. Small, white fleshed fruit, an extremely heavy cropper. Sweetness may vary with the seasons. Ex Auckland.
    A small, white fleshed, freestone, green skinned peach with a red blush. It has good flavour, is sweet and reliable with heavy crops. Ripens late January to early February. It is similar to original ancient peaches of Nepal. Ex Kaipara Harbour.

    Sequential order of peach ripening, ensuring plentiful fruit throughout the season.
    Orion '“ River '“ Blackboy '“ Hokianga Golden Queen '“ Batley.


  • On Peach Rootstocks. Mature height 3 '“ 4 m.
  • MATAKOHE An outstanding new addition to the Heirloom collection. It comes from an old orchard still being maintained in the Matakohe area. A peacherine with a sweet melting buttery yellow flesh. Ripens late Feb/March. Available on Peach rootstock only.


  • To produce high quality trees that yield well our pear'™s are grown as double worked trees, Quince rootstock with an inter stem (double worked rods). Height 2.5 '“3 m.
    A pear that has been in the original Davie'™s orchard in Northland since 1917 and originally came from the Red Bluff Nursery in Warkworth. The original name is unknown hence 'EARLY'. It bears heavy crops of small, sweet thin, skinned dessert pears, which are rounded in shape.
    A pear from Bert Davie'sselection of old Bon Chretien which has been selected for flavour and heavy cropping.
    An old pear from Northland, that originated from monks in France, arriving here after the First World War. It is a large pear with brown pinkish skin, a heavy and reliable bearer. Great dessert and bottling, because of its shape and ease of peeling. Ripe end of Feb/early March. Pollinator '“ Seckle.
    Keifer was an essential pear before the days of refrigeration because they keep so well. A very large juicy sweet crisp pear with good flavour. Texture similar to Asian pears. They are great thirst quenchers and are excellent for bottling. If stored properly in a cellar or similar they will keep for months, store in a shallow box with lots of air. Ripens end March. Pollinator - Seckle.
    A very handsome tree, with beautiful form. A seedling from Louis Bon Jersey raised by Mr Rivers a famous early New Zealand plant breeder. The fruit ripens at the end of February. The tree is a heavy cropper, with the fruit having pale green skin with a pink blush, are juicy and have good flavour.
    A small, VERY sweet juicy pear. Pollinates all other pears but, is an outstanding pear in its own right. Known by the Bohemian settlers up the Puhoi Valley as the Honey Pear. Described, ..'¦ 'The flesh is juicy, melting, fragrant, and of exquisite flavour with a touch of spiciness. It is not only superb fresh but is excellent for cooking'. Mid season ripening. Ex Wellsford.
    A large top quality dessert pear, which ripens in early February. Very juicy sweet pear with green-brown skin. The fruit holds well on the tree.

    Sequential order of pear ripening, ensuring plentiful fruit throughout the season.:
    Triumph de Vienna '“ Berts Special Early '“Princess -Bert's Special WBC -Seckle '“ Cleargeau '“ Keifer '“


  • On Plum Myrobalan and Peach rootstock. Mature height 3 '“ 4 m
    A moderately vigorous variety which produces sweet dessert plums which are small to medium in size. They have yellow-green flesh and purple skin. Pollinated by Greengage.
    A large plum with red/black flesh and skin a blotchy black purple green, not very appealing to look at but tastes the best. A freestone variety, ripens early April. Ex Kohukohu - Frenchman'™s orchard. Pollinator '“ Duffs Early Jewel. or Santa Rosa.
    A red fleshed plum, round medium sized very sweet and tasty. The fruit ripens from the first week in December to 20th December on a tree that is a very vigorous heavy cropper. Not inclined to split. Ex Coromandel. N.Z. Heirloom. Pollination unknown but Duffs Early Jewel or cherry plums (Heard/Pernel) may assist pollination.
    A beautiful yellow skin and fleshed plum with a honey sweet melting flavour. Koanga Gardens knows this as the Mangamuka Golden Drop and says it looks like a cross between Golden Drop and Greengage, as the skin is slightly green when ripe. Sugar Prune or Greengage Plum as a pollinator. N.Z. Heirloom.
    A cherry red skinned plum, which is yellow fleshed and has red around the stone, good for eating and excellent for preserving. The plum is self-fertile, precocious and a reliable heavy cropper which ripens in early January after Dan'™s Early. N.Z. Heirloom.
    A Dan Hansen selection '“ A very large very dark skin and fleshed plum which ripens after Dan'™s Early (20th of Dec to 7th Jan). Excellent flavour, reliable cropper, possible good for road side stall situations because it holds well and can be picked over several weeks.

    Sequential order of pear ripening, ensuring plentiful fruit throughout the season:

Dan'™s Early '“ Tamaki Special - Marabella '“ Greengage (Mangamuka) '“ Black Prince.


  • SUGAR PRUNE/GREENGAGE One tree but Two varieties

SUGAR PRUNE - An egg shaped, freestone with purple skin, yellow flesh and very sweet. It is an excellent dessert or dried prune, ripening in mid February. Pollinated by Greengage.
GREENGAGE - A proven cropper in the North with excellent flavour, which is, honey sweet and ripens in February. Pollinators are Sugar Prune or Angelina Burdett..


    Found in abandoned orchards of the Ahipara Gum fields. Koanga believe it is a Victoria Prune, which was once well known. It is a self-fertile, freestone variety, which is a reliable bearer in the North. An egg shaped prune with very firm sweet yellow flesh and dark skin.
Edible Garden CATALOGUE
Sarah Frater
889 Ashhurst-Bunnythorpe
RD 10, Palmerston North
New Zealand

Ph:06 326 7313
Fax: 06 326 7314