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I have one pear tree in my garden which is fully mature now. It was purchased initially because I liked the idea of being able to grow my own fruit. I also thought the blossom would attract bees and other insects to my garden which pleases me. The tree is definitely loved by pollinating insects but as far as providing me with fruit this has been a different story!
There are many different varieties of pear tree and the one I have has remained fairly small at around 12 metres high. It requires very little pruning. Over the years the branches have become more gnarly and many have, for some reason, stopped producing leaves and blossom and subsequently any fruit. I have areas of the tree where there is just a lot of dead wood which isn't particularly attractive.
My pear tree is the one tree in the garden I've had most problems with. I'm not sure if they are generally difficult to maintain or if they are particularly prone to diseases or pests or whether I'm simply unlucky. My tree has been through periods where the leaves have blackened off, been warped in shape or there have been years when the tree has bore no fruit whatsoever.
When the tree HAS had a successful year I have found the fruit to be quite small, no bigger than the palm of my hand, before it drops off the tree. Although the fruits are edible they taste rather bitter in comparison to shop bought pears and are best for baking rather than on their own.
I do love my pear tree when it is at it's best but I have had a lot of concerns for the tree and feel that it's possibly a tree that requires more looking after than other trees. I would recommend to people with small-medium to large sized gardens.
We've got 3 pear trees in our garden, one is proper old and the pears rot before they've ripened but the other 2 trees are a lot younger and we get a lovely load of pears off them every year.
Ours were in the garden when we moved in but apparently you can grow pear trees from the pip out of a normal eating pear! You have to plant the sapling when it's got a few true leaves on it and then let nature take it's course.
In the summer we set the sprinkler up at the bottom of the tree to make sure it gets plenty of water down to the roots but that's all. When all the pears are off the tree you have to prune the branches back so that they grow nice the next year.
I don't know what variety of pears we get off our trees but they're yummy. They have a dusty green skin and are mega juicy, they're not as pretty as you get in the supermarket but they taste way better and cost naff all!
We keep the old tree because the garden would look weird without it but we have to keep on top of it because the rotting pears attract wasps to the garden.
I think the pear trees look good in the garden, the old one is massive now and in a different shaped garden it would probably block the light but it's fine for us. The younger ones look much brighter and healthier, the leaves have got a fresh glossy colour and they look lovely in the garden.
Me and pears have a strange relationship, I don't eat much fruit but try to get at least one or two pieces down a day. I am aware of the health benefits of eating a wide range of different coloured fruits, so pears are my contribution towards the 'green' sector as I find apples too difficult to eat now that some of my teeth are unfortunately not my own. The problem with pears, for me, is the fact that I don't particularly like them so they do tend to have to be as near perfect as possible in order for me to eat one.
For this reason I have begun to buy the bags of Kids Funsize Pears from Tesco, you get eight or nine small pears and they cost £1.49 which I think is very good value as the equivalent weight at my local farmer's market would probably cost at least as much and very possibly more considering the rate at which their prices are rising. I'm all for supporting the local community, but there is a point at which you feel you are being ripped off by the very people you are trying to support - but here is not the place for that rant!
I like the fact that these pears are usually ripe enough for eating from the day I buy them, I do rummage around for the ripest feeling bag of pears available but mostly they all have that softness that indicates a pear ready for eating.
I have no idea what variety of pear these are, they are small and fat with a wide rounded bottom (not unlike myself) and a lovely matte skin which is generally totally unblemished. I do know that without exception the pears are juicy and flavoursome with a wonderfully sweet flavour throughout the whole pear, even the skin seems slightly sweeter than other pears I have eaten which sounds ridiculous but is nevertheless true.
They are easy to peel if you want to, the skin is so soft that even a butter knife would peel these if you had nothing else to hand - not that I've tried peeling a pear with a butter knife, but I imagine it would certainly be possible with these.
I know these pears appeal to children more than the skinnier, dirtier looking pears I buy from the market as my granddaughters' and other small visitors will ask for one of these when I offer them the fruit bowl whereas if there are only market pears in there then they will usually opt for apples. I also prefer them in both appearance and taste as the flavour seems condensed into the smaller pears to give them a really fresh and naturally fruity taste which leaves my mouth feeling refreshed and my thirst quenched.
It's rather difficult to buy decent pears in a supermarket, mostly because pears need to be very ripe indeed to have any discernible flavour or aroma. If such fruit were on sale, their shelf life would be incredibly short and thus would need to be rather expensive or unprofitable, and we can't have that.
I tend to buy these packets of Tesco pears as they are reasonably priced (between 99p and £1.50, depending on time of the year and promotions) and contain pears which ripen very nicely.
The dooyoo product photo shows very nice, yellow pears, but in reality they are sold uniformly green and normally need at least 5-6 days in the cupboard (they can be also ripened in the fruit bowl but my family would eat them in their sorry green state). Sometimes 10 days is better.
Recently, the pears included were Williams pears and when ripe, they become yellow with a pink blush, soft, juicy and sweet: perhaps not always a perfect pear but nice enough for normal consumption. But the variety used for those packs changes seasonally, and I also recall Rocha and even small Conferences.
Marketed as "funsize", these are normally slightly smaller than other supermarket pears, and are thus perfectly sized for children, which would often otherwise eat only a part of the fruit and waste the rest. But they would also work well for pear deserts (pears in red wine - wonderful!).
All in all, probably the best value practical option for pears in Tesco, and if you buy them regularly, you will always have a supply of ripe ones as needed.
Ideally, I would like all fruit to be available loose, as the packaged lots are usually more expensive per piece/per pound, but as there are usually 10 pears in the packet these are a good value even at the full price.
Along with the apple, orange and banana, the pear is one of the most familiar British fruits. Oranges and bananas do not grow naturally in the UK so I have always considered pears to be the second British fruit, after the apple.
When I was growing up my Auntie always had an orchard that was full of apple trees and pear trees, and even the odd gooseberry bush. I was always very envious of my Cousins and longed for an orchard of my own, but as my parents explained an orchard in our much smaller garden was not practical.
And so my dream of having my very own orchard stayed with me into my adult life. About 4 years ago I decided that I would plant a variety of different tree seeds with the intention of transferring them to my garden when they were large enough. These seeds included native British trees like oak, beech and sycamore as well as apple and pear seeds.
Almost all of these seeds sprouted successfully and I now have several small trees. Due to concerns regarding lack of space however I have left these in pots rather than actually planting them in my garden, as I hope to move somewhere with a larger garden in the near future.
My pear tree is now about 18 inches tall and stands in a 12-inch diameter pot. This pot is positioned outdoors on my patio and apart from the occasional watering during dry weather it receives virtually no attention, yet despite this, it appears to be thriving.
All Pear trees belong the genus Pyrus. The commonest type of pear found growing in Britain is commonly referred to as a "European Pear." Whist I presume that my pear tree is of this species, I cannot be entirely certain of this as it was grown from the pip of a fruit purchased in a local supermarket.
Pears belong to the same family of plants as apples and visually both of trees are usually quite similar in appearance. The main distinguishing features between these two plants is usually from the fruit these trees produce. This fruit being referred to colloquially as "Apples" or "Pears".
The fruit of the pear tree is edible and usually has a distinctive bell-like shape. This is in contrast to the round shape of the apple fruit. Whilst this general rule can be applied in most circumstances it cannot be entirely reliable. There are a few varieties of pear that resemble apples and also apples that look like pears. These oddities have usually come about as a result of cross breeding and hybridisation. The main botanical distinction between the two species is to do with the tissue of the fruit, in the case of the pear there are clusters of cells, within the core of the fruit, filled with a hard woody deposit, known as "grit," This does not occur in apples.
Pear trees flower a few weeks earlier than apple trees. My pear tree is not quite mature enough to bear flowers, but next Spring, or the following year it should develop clusters of small white flowers. When these flowers die they will leave behind a tiny fruit, which should be large enough to pick in the Autumn.
Ideally, pear trees prefer a warm, sunny position in the garden, so I guess that the position of the pot on my patio is more or less ideal. The soil should be kept moist and not be allowed to completely dry out. I have made sure that my pot has a hole in the bottom of it because pear trees also prefer a well drained soil.
Pear trees can be rather susceptible to pests and diseases so it is recommended that the leaves are checked regularly. The most common problems are brown leaf rot, which is caused by a fungus. As its name suggests it turns the leaves brown. The other common problem is attack by pear mites. Both are these problems are treatable but as with most things of this nature prevention is always better than a cure.
Overall I think that pear trees make a welcome addition to any British garden. They are easy to grow and when mature enough they should produce lovely juicy fruit.