Posts Tagged ‘fruit’

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Coming to Fruition

Pear blossom (detail) Espaliered Pear (detail)

Left: Blossom on espaliered pear tree. Photograph by Corey Eilhardt; Right: Fruit on the espaliered pear in Bonnefont garden. Photograph by Barbara Bell

Join us on Saturday, June 1, for a special Garden Day, celebrating the seventy-fifth anniversary of The Cloisters museum and gardens. We’ll be discussing our fruit trees in a daylong program of events, including talks on the significance of orchards and orchard fruit in medieval life and art, medieval fruits you can grow today, training and pruning espaliered trees like our famous pears, and the care of our beloved quince and other orchard fruits.

For related information, see previously published posts about our pear, medlar, and cornelian cherry trees.

—Deirdre Larkin

Friday, July 31, 2009

Immortal Fruit

Punica granatum 'Nana' Detail from the Unicorn Tapestry showing a pomegranate Punica granatum

Above, from left to right: A potted dwarf pomegranate flowering and fruiting now; a detail of a pomegranate tree depicted in The Unicorn Is Attacked; a full-sized pomegranate ripening on a tree set in the ground in Bonnefont Garden. Pomegranates are deciduous; the leaves turn a bright yellow before falling in October. By the Middle Ages, the exotic eastern fruit had long been cultivated in southern Europe. Although it is not cold-hardy, pomegranate has been grown in the gardens of The Cloisters from their beginnings.

I went down into the nut orchard,
to look at the blossoms of the
valley,
To see whether the vines had budded,
whether the pomegranates were
in bloom.
Before I was aware, my fancy set me
in a chariot beside my prince.

Song of Solomon 6:11 and 12 (Revised Standard Version)

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Rotten-ripe: The Medlar Goes Soft

medlar fruit The medlar tree in a detail from the tapestry <em>The Unicorn is Found</em>

Left: Medlar in fruit below the west wall of Bonnefont Cloister Garden; right: a medlar tree in a detail from the tapestry The Unicorn is Found. Learn more about the Unicorn tapestries.

Well into November, long after other autumnal fruits have fallen to the ground, the small greenish-brown fruits of the medlar tree (Mespilus germanica) cling to its crooked boughs. The fruit is not harvested until the leaves fall, when the medlars can be easily plucked, although they are still too hard and acerbic to be eaten out of hand. Experts differ as to whether exposure to a few degrees of frost, which does the fruit no harm, is important to the long ripening process to come. Once gathered, the fruits are placed stem-side down in straw and stored in a cool, dark place for several weeks until they are rotten-ripe and the pulp has turned into a delicious mush—a process known as bletting. (Lee Reich, Uncommon Fruits Worthy of Attention, 1992).  Read more »

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Golden Quince

Ripe quinces in late October

Above: Ripe quinces in late October.

The famous quince trees that grace the four beds at the center of the Bonnefont Cloister Herb Garden have grown there since the early 1950s. Although the trees are showing their age, they still bear a heavy crop—so heavy that it is necessary to thin the fruits in late summer and to prop up the aging boughs to help them to bear the weight of the fruit. The quinces are not harvested; the fruits are picked up as they fall. Read more »