By Monty Don

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/ireland/artic le-1051337/History-garden--This-week-Greengage-pru nus-domestica.html
01st September 2008

In my opinion, greengages are the best of all plums. Unfortunately,
they can be tricky to grow and young trees take their time to set
fruit - but they are worth the trouble and the wait.

Greengages can be tricky to grow and young trees take their time to
set fruit

It is believed that they originated in Armenia, just to the east of
Turkey, and spread to Europe quite late, entering this country in
the early 1700s - although there are references to the greengage
before that time from travellers to Italy, where it was known as
verdocchia. The French called it Reine-Claude after Queen Claude,
wife of Francis I, whose reign overlapped that of our own Henry VIII.

We know this green-skinned plum as the greengage because, in 1724, an
English Catholic priest called John Gage, who was studying in Paris,
sent some young trees to his brother, Sir William Gage, who lived at
Hengrave Hall just outside Bury St Edmunds. But the trees lost their
labels in transit so the gardener planted them and labelled them 'green
Gages' after his master. The name stuck and has endured to this day.