New blackcurrant varieties on the way

Garden and greenhouse enthusiasts could soon get their hands on new varieties of blackcurrant that need less cold weather in winter.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), most current species require a long period of low temperatures during the colder months in order to fruit reliably in summer.

Recent Scottish Crops Research Institute findings, sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, show that the Ben Klibrick and Ben Vane varieties of blackcurrant are still reliable when winters are milder than usual.

However, they are yet to be made available to the general public, with just commercial growers having access.

A mass market strain is currently in development and could help garden and greenhouse enthusiasts grow a more successful crop when released.

East Malling Research head of science Chris Atkinson explained that there should be further studies into how the fruit will respond to a harsh winter, such as the one experienced this year.

In other news, the RHS recently revealed that single snowdrop bulbs have been changing hands for more than £100 on eBay.