‘I do sincerely trust
that the benediction
that is always awaiting me
in my garden may by degrees be more deserved and that I may grow in grace and patience and cheerfulness, just like the happy flowers
I so much love.’ Elizabeth von Arnim
April traditionally is associated with blossom and this April didn’t
disappoint until the weather turned against us, destroying the blossom on many
prunus (flowering cherries) trees before we had time and opportunity to fully
appreciate their breathe-taking beauty. Fortunately the apple blossom hasn’t
been affected and I’m hopeful for a good harvest later in the year.
Early apple blossom
Similarly with pear tree blossom. We have two extremely large and
ancient pear trees – they are possibly as old as the house itself which was
built in 1911. The tree nearest the house bears the most wonderful, juicy pears
which, when we first moved here in 1979, we gathered by standing on a
neighbour’s flat-roofed garage and which we transformed into wonderful jams,
chutneys and, to my mother-in-law Rouena’s delight, a very intoxicating pear
wine, which when left to mature in the under-stairs cupboard until the cupboard
was spring cleaned the following year, almost took on the status of a fine
spirit. Sadly for us, the tree is now so large that only the starlings and crows
benefit from the mouth-watering fruit.
Old pear tree with delicious fruit, sadly enjoyed only by the birds!
The second tree bears a small, hard fruit in large quantities. Again the
tree is too large to enable us to harvest the fruit but, happily, most of the
pears are blown onto the lawn by the autumn strong winds and are easily
harvested as wind-fall fruit. Thus they don’t keep for long but even so are
delicious eaten au naturelle; stewed in
the microwave and eaten with Greek yoghurt; or made into pear pickle or chutney
- delicious when eaten with cheese and celery for a quick and tasty supper.