Why the oldies are the goodies
Many of the best home garden varieties are heritage varieties from the 19th century.
Pears are grafted onto two rootstocks. Pear rootstock produces vigorous large trees that need space. Quince rootstock produces smaller trees which can be bought pre-pruned into pyramids, espaliers and fans, and even double worked with compatible pollinators.
We chose dwarf heritage varieties on quince C rootstock, which only grow 2.4-3.5m high. We wanted variety in a small space and didn’t fancy climbing ladders to prune and pick. While they need strong stakes, dwarf trees have the advantage of fruiting earlier and lower, and are very productive in a small space.
Pears are only partially self-fertile and most crop much better when paired with other varieties known as pollinators that flower at the same time. We had to choose carefully, given our limited space, to make sure we gave our trees the best possible pollination odds.
Other considerations are spreading harvest time, the intended use of fruit (dessert, preserving etc) and keeping qualities.
We wanted gourmet pears, compatible pollinators, and a range of uses, so we chose: • Buerre Bosc • William’s Bon Chretien (green and red varieties) • Taylor’s Gold • Winter Cole • Doyenne du Comice, a fabulous dessert pear
Taylor’s Gold pear.