The Blackbird and the Pear Tree


Although pear trees are usually associated with partridges, in our garden it is the blackbird that is ever-present throughout the year. In this photo from early April 2021, the sentinel surveys his domain. During late spring and summer, blackbirds take advantage of the leafy cover and bark-covered ground to grub around for worms and insects.  In autumn and early winter, they feast on fallen fruit.

We have two pear trees grown as espaliers along a south-facing wall: Concorde (pictured) and Doyenne du Comice. These are in the same pollination group for cross-fertilization - note, the parents of Concorde are Conference and Doyenne du Comice! While Concorde is described as self-fertile, and will produce a decent crop on its own, it will benefit greatly from having a pollinator partner nearby. If you only grow one pear in an English garden, Concorde should be the first name on your list because of its reliability and taste.

The Doyenne du Comice is undoubtedly a fine-tasting pear but its productivity can be variable. While producing plenty of flowers in the Spring, fruit yield this year was poor (a dozen or so edible fruits), possibly down to the cold May. The undoubted star of the show is the Concorde pear which this year produced over 150 fruit with some left over for the blackbirds. 

Pears can be stored in a fridge at 3-4 ℃ and will keep for months. Pick before they fully ripen, usually after one or two pears have fallen naturally from the tree, and chill. Remove a few days before you want to eat them. The photo below was taken on October 19 after we had eaten all the Comice and a good number of the Concorde. These should safely see us into 2022.

A pear plucked from your own tree has a zero carbon footprint. Storage in a fridge obviously adds some carbon, about 30 g CO2e per pear, but still a negligible part of your total food carbon footprint. 


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