BBC News films Warden Pear planting at Jordans Mill

Jordans Mill had its fair share of the limelight on Wednesday, 11 February, with teams from BBC News and BBC Radio 4 visiting us to film and record the planting of two Warden Pear trees, kindly donated to us by Shuttleworth College.

The Warden Pear trees, which date back to the 14th Century and were mentioned in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, are now planted in the Jordans Mill Gardens for visitors to enjoy for years to come.

Our gardening team, headed up by Svenja Burckhardt, will be keeping a close eye on them and nurturing them until they start bearing fruit in a year or two.

Svenja, along with Paul Labous from Shuttleworth College, was interviewed by BBC News At One presenter Jo Black, with the programme broadcast on 11 February.

Paul was also interviewed by BBC Radio 4, and Svenja and Paul were in demand later on in the day when they were interviewed live over the phone by Roberto Perrone during the drivetime show on BBC Three Counties Radio. To listen to the interview, click here and scroll to 2 hours 48 minutes.

The story was also picked up by BBC News Online

We're honoured to have been chosen by Shuttleworth College to plant two Old Warden Pear trees and preserve a piece of Bedfordshire history.

The trees can now be seen in the Jordans Mill Gardens and from Saturday 14th to Sunday 22nd visitors to Jordans Mill can enter our Gardens for free, so there's never been a better time to see a tree once mentioned in a Shakespeare play.

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Jordans Mill plants a piece of Bedfordshire history

Jordans Mill in Bedfordshire made history this month as it planted an ancient local variety of pear tree once at risk of disappearing.

The Old Warden Pear was first cultivated in the 14th century by monks in the Old Warden area of Bedfordshire and was mentioned in Shakespeare’s play The Winter’s Tale. It has been under a preservation programme at Shuttleworth College with students propagating the trees planted in a bid to save this ancient variety.

With 30 trees now grafted successfully, the College has donated two of these to Jordans Mill in Bedfordshire to ensure the tree lives on in the local area in which it was first grown. The two Old Warden Pear trees will take pride of place in the Jordans Mill Gardens so visitors to the heritage attraction can enjoy this ancient tree of local and historical significance for many years to come.

Svenja Burckhardt, Head Gardener at Jordans Mill, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for the team here at Jordans Mill; it’s not every day you get the chance to plant a piece of history and grow a tree that has such local relevance and was once at risk of fading away completely. The ethos of our gardens and Jordans Mill itself is about keeping our food heritage alive, which is a perfect fit with the Old Warden Pear.

“It’s a real honour to be chosen by Shuttleworth to plant these trees and we’ll be keeping a close eye on them to make sure they thrive and bear lots of Old Warden Pears.”

Paul Labous is a lecturer with the Department of Horticulture at Shuttleworth College and initiated the programme to preserve the Old Warden Pear several years ago. He said: “When we started the project there were only five Old Warden Pear trees growing naturally in the county.

“The students at Shuttleworth have now propagated around 30 trees and we’re delighted to be able to donate two of these to Jordans Mill so we can continue to preserve our local history and keep the Old Warden Pear trees alive.

“We wanted the trees to be in a place where they could be enjoyed by local people and those with an interest in history and horticulture and the gardens at Jordans Mill is the perfect location. We hope visitors to the gardens will enjoy the trees for many years to come.”

A cooking pear, the Old Warden Pear was the main ingredient in the Warden pie, a pastry pie made with saffron, which was referred to in Shakespeare’s play The Winter’s Tale. The Old Warden Pear was popular as it would keep from autumn harvest through to January or February the following year without refrigeration.

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WIN gardening gift sets in our kids’ colouring competition

Enter our kids' colouring competition this February to be in with a chance of winning a gardening starter set, perfect for encouraging little green fingers this spring.

To enter, simply pick up a colouring sheet and crayons from reception or download here. Once you've finished, hand it in to reception by 28th February. There are two categories, six years and under and 7-11 years of age.

We'll be awarding a fantastic gardening starter set to the lucky winners so grab your crayons and get colouring!

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