Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Tree That Fell Down

When we bought our new house it had a rather large garden with several trees, among which a pear tree. The pear turned out to be a Conference, a lovely, delicious pear. I am very happy with my pear tree as it looks good for most of the year and it provides us with lots of healthy and tasty pears too. In winter it can look like this, very beautiful, don't you think?

In May it's covered in blossom, a glorious sight, and the bees are very busy buzzing around the tree, pollinating the flowers. During the summer months the little pears slowly grow bigger and bigger. And then in July and August the wasps come, the birds and butterflies too, and all would start to nibble a few pears. Some would eat the fallen fruits, others would start on the still growing pears and I let them. Every year there's plenty for everyone, human or otherwise.

In June I have to thin the fruit out quite a bit. There's usually a cluster of 5 to 10 flowers and when pollinated, the flowers turn into little fruits. Five little pears or more in every cluster is a bit much for the tree, it will take too much energy to turn them all into hand sized pears. So of every cluster of 5, you remove 4 miniature pears. If you leave all the fruits on, then the next year the tree will produce very little if any blossom and therefore no fruit. At the end of September, half October, depending on the weather, it's time to harvest the Conference pears.
Our pear tree has been a very generous tree that gives us loads of pears every year. So many in fact, that we can't eat them all ourselves and we are making lots of friends, neighbours and relatives happy with a basket full of pears yearly.

Last year (2006) was an exceptional year for fruit trees. Never had the pear tree been so full of little pears growing merrily into bigger ones. July was the hottest and sunniest month in 300 years in the Netherlands. Then August came and we broke another record, this time for the wettest month in about a 100 years.

I went on holiday for a week during August and when I came back, I couldn't believe my eyes. Disaster had struck! My lovely pear tree had keeled over, and was now in a 30 degree angle to the ground. Only a few big and sturdy branches kept it from falling over completely. What to do?

I ran out and had a good look at the tree. To my surprise the roots were still in the ground and the trunk in one piece. I tried to get the tree upright again but to no avail. I then called for my garden assistant and we tried to get the tree upright together, but no luck. It was just too heavy, even for the both of us. So I decided to saw of a few of the bigger branches and that did the trick. The tree was much lighter now and we could push it upright and we propped it up with a sturdy pole.
And then I waited, and waited. The next few weeks all the pears fell off the tree, then a lot of leaves fell off too, not all but many and the ones that were still attached to the tree didn't look all that healthy. And I started to worry about my tree; will it survive?

In Autumn it lost the last of its leaves and then Winter came and the tree was either dormant or dead. I just had to be patient and wait to see if the tree had survived its ordeal.

Then Spring 2007 arrived and it looked like this. Still nothing. Was it alive? Had it gone to meet its maker, kicked the bucket, was it pushing up daisies? But no, I checked, no daisies as yet. And then, yesterday, I saw this.
The first sign of life! A miracle, don't you think?

Winters know
Easily to shed the snow,
And the untaught Spring is wise
In cowslips and anemonies.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), May-Day and Other Pieces


monique said...

Wat fijn dat je perenboom het nog doet zeg!

Heidi said...

What a beautiful story to read! I truely hope this pear tree will surprise yet again with many juicy pears. We are predicted to have another warm summer here in Holland this year so perhaps.

Thanks for sharing the story and photos. You have a beautiful blog. Groeten uit Amersfoort.

Thalia said...

Wow, that was a touching story. My eyes went moist reading it.I am glad that the tree is alive! Thanking you for sharing such a moving story!

Kristi said...

I am waiting for my cherry blossoms to appear... it's very exciting to see signs of life after waiting so long.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all, thanks for posting a comment on my blog.

Monique: ik ben heel blij dat mijn perelaar nog leeft, ik dacht echt dat het over en uit was.

Heidi, welcome to my blog and like you I hope we will have a nice summer this year too and, if possible, with lots of juicy pears. ;-)

Thalia, I'm glad you liked this story and was moved by it. Life is precious.

Kristi, I hope you will put some lovely pics of the long awaited cherry blossom on your blog when the time has come! :-)

Annie in Austin said...

What a beautiful tree, Yolanda Elizabet - I hope it will bloom and bear again. The pears I see around here are ornamentals in the Callery group - no fruit. The fruit in your photos looks so delicious, and they're huge! No wonder you had to thin them after blossom set.

Good luck.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Lis said...

Das ist wirklich ein kleines Wunder! Es wäre ja auch zu schade wenn er ganz kaputt gewesen wäre. Hoffentlich trägt er wieder viele Früchte und bleibt euch noch ein paar Jahre erhalten
LG Lis

Lis said...

Ha, ha, jetzt haben wir beide zur gleichen Zeit gepostet :-))

Naturegirl said...

Yolanda I am so pleased that you introduced yourself to me! I am going to enjoy visitng your space so much! I feel that you and I are kindred spirits! Your attitude in sharing the fruits of your labor with your buzzzing garden visitors..your love of pear trees..we had 2 at one house now we plant only cherries! I see also that you love your cats! I have three and yes I adore them! I have made them international celebrities in fact if the photos turn out I will be posting them next week! Nice to meet you see you soon! hugs Ng
P.s...I cover my tender plants at night but they so needed the rays of sunshine after a long winter in the garage!

Carol said...

Your pear tree must know how you feel about it, so it is making a go of it! When you wrote that it was leaning, I was concerned, but am happy to read a happy ending!

Pam/Digging said...

May you harvest buckets of pears again this year.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all,

Thanks for visiting my blog and your comments.

Annie: it is a beautiful tree and I'm very glad that it is still alive. Perhaps there will be blossom this year, perhaps not. I will know quite soon enough now that the buds are swelling.

Lis: we have been thinking about each other at exactly the same time, isn't that wunderbar?

Nature Girl: welcome to my blog. Glad you enjoyed yourself and I'm looking forward to pictures of your 3 kitties.

Carol: leaning is not the word I would use here,:-) almost flat on its face, decribes what happened more accurately. It was saved from that by some of its branches that keept it propped up to a 20 to 30 degree angle to the ground. If that had not been the case, its roots would have snapped or come out of the ground. Either way it would have been finished. We were lucky it fell to the side it did.

Pam: short, sweet and to the point, I like that! ;-)

Bert said...

Peers lovely peers. What a smart thing to support the tree with a pole. Can't wait to see the peers growing again. I hope you'll have a good harvest, in autumn!!

Gotta Garden said...

I'm so glad! I think trees do know we care about them. I had a dogwood uprooted (on one side) in a hurricane. We put it back in the ground as quickly as possible. It still had some dieback...but, all in all, it's done well.

Another of my dogwoods looked like it had been weedwhacked (we had tenants in our home while we were gone) looked awful. It made me so sad to see it. However, if you were to see it now, you'd never know (unless I showed you...)...and they're about to come into bloom!

I've often joked that my trees missed me when we were gone (and the house was rented)...I'm joking but there's a part of me that does believe it.