I planted a Medlar tree last Spring. I don’t know why but the moment I first saw a Medlar I knew that I would have to plant one at some time. And the minute I had the space to do it, I did.
I first saw one at The Courts Garden, a National Trust property near Bath that I visited a lot when I lived in the UK. The tree wasn’t very big – I’m estimating around 12 foot high but it was perfectly proportioned. It bloomed with white flowers in the Spring and dangled with brown jewel-like fruit in Autumn.
I never dared to touch the fruit (someone might see me!) and so I didn’t know what a Medlar tasted like. I had heard that it was one of the oldest fruits that we still cultivate and that it had been popular in Medieval times.
The fruits aren’t that big, say the size of a small Tomato, and they hold onto the tree way past leaf fall and into the Winter. Infact, the softer the fruit the better they taste. They need to be bletted or rotted before they are soft enough to eat. Before that they are just like hard crab Apples, ie. bitter and yuk!
My Medlar has done surprisingly well. It has coped with both my clay, waterlogged soil and near drought conditions in the summer! It also had some lovely orange leaves in the Autumn.
Now there are six fruits on my tree. I’m surprised since I only planted it last year. I could see that they were ready because they were drooping down and when I squeezed them they were soft and bouncy.
So here they are. And it’s time to taste my first one! The taste is interesting. It’s like stewed Apple but fresher and with more caramel. I like it! There are stones in there so you have to avoid them. And the flesh is so soft that you really have to eat it with a spoon. And… there isn’t much of it. But… my curiosity is filled. I now have my very own piece of history, growing in my garden.