A Good Year for Pears

from The Weatherstaff PlantingPlanner – intelligent garden design software

The BBC reported that Herefordshire Perry cider makers were suffering this year from a poor pear harvest. Not so in my garden, I’m delighted to report. After 6 years of divvying up a solitary pear amongst our family of five, for the very first time I am hunting out cunning new recipes for enjoying our pear harvest.

I wouldn’t go so far as to report a glut of pears. What we have is one of those vertical, column-trained trees, carrying fruit along its single upright stem. Actually, we have two of these – one Beurré Hardy and one Doyenné du Comice – planted over half a decade ago and spectacularly failing to keep us supplied with pears – until this summer, when we counted over 3 dozen hanging plumply from their shortened spurs.

Weatherstaff Harvest Pyrus Doyenne du Commice
Pyrus Doyenné du Commice

My little fruit-growing book tells me that one belongs to Pollination Group C and the other to Group D i.e. one flowers earlier than the other, but that there should be a sufficient overlap in their flowering periods for them to cross-pollinate one another.

I was beginning to wonder what was up with my pair of pears and had even resorted to wafting around a child’s paintbrush in a feeble attempt at hand pollination. The Beurré Hardy, the earlier flowering one, never seemed to produce much blossom. Maybe that was the problem? Then this spring, both burst into a glorious display of pear blossom and proceeded to develop their superb (relatively speaking) crop.

Was it something to do with last winter’s severe weather? The cherry blossom this year was fantastic and that was credited to a combination of last summer’s conditions (not too dry, not too wet) and the harsh winter which enhanced the quality of the blossom.

Spain has had a bumper year for its Conference pear crop too, harvesting 8 million kilos of the fruit (approximately 8 million kilos more than my crop).

So what happened to the poor Perry cider producers? Well, apparently they had a very good season last year and a good year is often followed by a poor one. I suppose I’d better make the most of this year’s pears then.

For a good variety of fruit trees, try http://www.kenmuir.co.uk.

The Weatherstaff Team