Seasonally out of sync – and two and a half years late –
but first Smooth Cayenne pineapple, (in two years), fruits at Heligan
The Productive Garden Team at The Lost Gardens of Heligan enjoyed a very rare opportunity this week as they harvested one of their famous, traditionally grown, pineapples from the Pineapple Pit.
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The 15 strong gardening team gathered in the Melon Yard around the pit. Each person eagerly awaiting the return of Dina, an expert in the art of growing pineapples, who had descended into the pit to harvest the pineapple. Out from the pit came a small spiny plant topped with a perfect, deep yellow and improbably large pineapple.
“This is the first Smooth Cayenne pineapple to fruit at Heligan in over two years” commented Dina, from the Productive Garden Team. “Traditionally there were two different types grown by the Victorians each with different fruiting times, that way they could produce fruit all year around. The Smooth Cayenne variety is supposed to fruit during the months of November through to March and the Jamaican Queen then fruits for the remainder of the months, however it’s currently June so they don’t seem to be following the schedule!”
Including ‘man hours’ looking after the pineapple, transport costs of manure, maintenance of the pineapple pits and other bits and pieces, each pineapple cost in excess of £1000.
It was a momentous occasion for the team who were each treated to a small piece of lusciously juicy, deliciously tasting, fruit just as you would have in the tropics! Traditionally pineapples were saved for the gentry of the estate and the gardeners who planted and cared for them would never have had the opportunity to taste the fruits of their labour. However the pineapples grown at Heligan today are shared between everyone, from the carpenter who repaired the pits to the painter who keeps them so white; and every gardener whether they watered, planted or shifted manure.
“After the years of hard work, it was almost sad to crop the fruit” added Dina, “however we take the crown and replant it letting the pineapple live on to another harvest.”
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