Thursday 25 August 2011

What a find .......

A few weeks ago I decided I needed to do some work in the copse.   Rabbit runs etc make this a very difficult area to work, but I did need to clear some of undergrowth, which was totally out of control.    Whilst working I spied this tree trunk and realised I had never noticed it before.    Why, I don't know, I just hadn't.     I looked up at the entangled canopy and could not see the boughs of this very large tree.      Now I was intrigued......first thing to do was get my camera.
Gosh, it's huge, how on earth did I not notice it.         To my amazement there in all it's glory was a medlar tree.    Medlar's were very popular during the Medieval period.    The fruit is picked around November.    It is left to soften before becoming edible.    The softening is called 'bletting'.    The flesh is as soft as a baked apple.    The flavour is refreshing, like an old fashioned apple sauce with cinnamon.      The fruit may have been cultivated as far back as thirty centuries ago.
 During the last few weeks I have been in touch with several tree specialists and the Woodland Trust and they all seem to be of the same opinion, this is an extremely old tree.
Let me leave you with the last paragraph from one of the letters from the Woodland Trust.

Medlars first started being grown in Britain in 995, so it's quite possible that your tree was planted in the garden for the property (medieval period), and it has later become incorporated into the copse.

I feel so honoured to have this ancient tree in the garden.....but I do have one problem how on earth can I reach the fruit to pick it?


  1. HI the hubby with a ladder!!
    Fantastic your find ..that is exciting, and an honor to be the host to this medieval period tree !!
    That last photo is lovely!! They look like apples ...!!


  2. Hi Grace,

    If you saw the height of this tree and the position in the copse (overhanging a ditch),
    and the rabbit is, believe me, an accident waiting to happen. Otherwise, I would have a go myself :)

    They do looke like russet apples, the difference with medlars is the blossom end remains wide open and creates a flatened base.

    Sent your seeds yesterday.....hope you receive them soon.

  3. Wow! That's really amazing! How lovely to have such an ancient tree in your garden.

  4. Gosh how interesting to think you have something so old in your copse. Not sure how to suggest you try picking the fruit - would they fall if you could net beneath? Perhaps you could train a bird to fly up for you?! Now I am being silly!

  5. Hi Jane,

    I have been researching and some sites say they do not fall. If that is the case what happens to them?? I have never seen any on the copse floor and I am sure I would have noticed them.

    Bird, hmmmmm, perhaps not :)

  6. What an exciting find! I have never heard of medlars or bletting, but the fruit sounds wonderful. You're gonna report back and show and tell about tasting it, right?

  7. I have never heard of such a tree. How exciting to realize it is in your garden. It is like finding a treasure. Can't imagine how to gather them. Too bad another won't grow from this one so you could reach the fruit. I wonder how they reproduce??

  8. What a wonderful find, I had never heard of it before either. You just have to find a way to try some of the fruit.

  9. Dear all.

    Medlars are self pollinating. They are rarely damaged by frost as they bloom late. The blossom is said to be extremely pretty. White with a pale pink blush and around 2" across.

    I really would like to pick some fruit but cannot at this time, think of a way to do it.
    The Medlar is surrounded by trees......has a ditch one side and the rabbit warren the other.
    If anyone can come up with an idea, I would be very grateful, as I would love to try this fruit.

    Tku for your interest :)

  10. oh Cheryl what a glorious find and goes to show we need to look up more often than perhaps we do. Could you put a sheet underneath and shake the branches when you first see windfalls? Found this link which might be useful

  11. Thanks for your comment on my blog. In answer to your question about medlars in France - yes we did see them for sale in the markets and I understand they are common in the Limousin where we lived but I didn't know anyone who had one. I do also remember them in Dorset as a teenager but don't remember what we did with them or whether they fall or rot away on the tree or anything else about them - well as a teenager you wouldn't care would you?!

  12. What a fantastic find! To think something this old has lasted all this time--think of all the changes that it has seen through the years. I've never heard of a medlar before; I hope a few of the fruit fall down where you can reach them so you get a chance to sample some.

  13. Dear Cheryl,
    Tears of joy!!!! Oh my- a Medlar. A tree of Fairy tales,
    an Ent. It is the perfect time for you to find her too. The children must be excited.
    Perhaps one of the Grandchildren will write her story?
    I know you and the Grandchildren can hear the trees. Perhaps together you will write her story? A tree house project? I think Medlar stayed hidden until now so you could fall in love with the copse. I think maybe the Medlar will tell you about climate change.
    The fruit will come to you.....or feed the birds and butterflies. Just knowing she is growing near must be awesome. You are a steward. You are truly blessed. Oh my look at that bark! The fruits are lovely.
    I read marigoldjam's commit...Medlars in France?
    Medlar exciting.
    Such an honour. Now I am looking for Medlars. This Medlar is blessing you and your family.

  14. Dear Sherry,

    I knew if anyone would understand, it would be you.
    I feel the same....she has come at the right time. There is a message somewhere...I have thoughts that are growing daily.
    Unicorn is helping me feel the way.
    I have thoughts of medieval orchards or maybe a monastic garden.
    I have been clearing today.....secrets may lie beneath her boughs. This is very much a journey that I am more than happy to take......

  15. Hi Laura,

    Thank you for that. Have looked at the link and it has given me hope. Maybe I will be eating Medlar in the winter months :)

  16. Hi Jane,

    Thank you for the info. I am trying to put together as much information as I can about Medlar.

    You are teenagers we are definately not interested in that sort of thing.
    This is the time when are eyes are drawn to the opposite sex )

  17. Oh Cheryl! How exciting! What a find! And perfect timing too, for what I don't know, but I believe things happen when they're meant to. There was a reason you hadn't noticed this tree until now.

    Perhaps your mother would have a story about Medlar trees?

    I know you will find a way to pick the fruit. Think of it as a quest, an adventure and watch to see who comes forth to help you. (just be careful of the dragon who lives in the ditch below. LOL - my imagination is running wild)

    I wonder how they picked the fruit in days of old? Or maybe the tree wasn't as high, way back then.

    I am so excited for you! It sounds like a magical link back to medieval times.

  18. Hi Cheryl,

    What a wonderful surprise for you to find!
    Wow, and to think you've never noticed it before???!!! Too busy looking at all your other pretty plants, no doubt ;)

  19. Hi Wendy,

    I have a mature Medlar. It is seven metres high and most of the lower branches have been lost in time.
    When it was planted and for many years after, fruits would have been very easy to pick. Medlars are very slow growing.

    I feel honoured to have it in the garden.
    I am clearing the copse that surrounds it and thinking about planting native orchids in that area.....

  20. Hi Liz,

    I just cannot believe I have been here for nearly ten years and have not seen it in that time.
    The copse has always been a dark place and much is hidden there. The canopy tangles together and holds secrets....the medlar was one of them.

  21. Orchids! Oooooo. You'll have to send us pics when they're blooming! I can see this new find will keep you happily busy for a while.