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It's official ... Georgetown orchardist Helen Brookes, holding the certificate acknowledging Plant Variety Rights, inspects this year's crop of "Sweet Perfection" peaches ripening on the tree. PHOTO: SALLY BROOKER

A new variety of peach has been bred in Georgetown, near Duntroon.

Orchardists Helen Brookes and Terry Fowler have been granted Plant Variety Rights from the Intellectual Property Office for their “Sweet Perfection” peach.

After three years of trials during which 50 characteristics were monitored against those of six other types of peach, Sweet Perfection has been recognised as a distinct breed.

It can only be bought from Dr Brookes and Mr Fowler, and no-one is allowed to propagate it without their consent for 23 years.

Dr Brookes figured that period would outlast her and her husband.

They discovered the peach when they arrived at their small orchard 25 years ago. It had grown from a stone in a flower bed at the end of the carport attached to the house.

Then they enclosed the area with translucent corrugated roofing panels.

Mr Fowler used to spray the peach trees with copper in winter to prevent leaf curl. However, he didn’t spray the tree by the corrugated panels, as it would have turned the panels blue.

“After two to three years, I realised the tree didn’t have leaf curl,” Dr Brookes said.

They wanted to keep it, so they sent budwood to an Ashburton nursery to be propagated.

Once they had planted several of the resulting trees and were sure they produced the same fruit as the parent, they cut down the original from the carport.

The orchard was more of a horticultural interest than a commercial venture, Dr Brookes said.

“We used to and still get a number of visits from organisations to see what we do here.

“We have fruit and nut trees growing well outside their natural range, including grapefruit, oranges, mandarins, loquats ..”

She describes the Sweet Perfection peach as “a beautiful piece of fruit”.

“It’s really tasty.”

They called it “Peaches and Cream” at first, because of its aroma and texture.

Its yellow flesh is juicy and freestone, and its smooth, non-fluffy skin peels off easily when ripe.

Customers bottle the peaches or eat them as dessert fruit.