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Pineapples at Tatton Park Pinery

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Sam Youd Sam Youd | 07:00 UK time, Sunday, 26 June 2011

Pineapples at Tatton Park Pinery

Pineapples at Tatton Park Pinery

Pineapples were grown in England from 1750 until the turn of the 20th century. They were particularly fashionable in country houses across Britain.

Tatton's Pinery was famous for producing prize pineapples for the London pineapple shows, with each fruit being worth about £5,000 in modern day terms!

Pineapples were always seen as 'welcome' symbols and so it's not unusual to see stone pineapple finials on gate posts at entrances to country estates.

Tatton's Pinery was reconstructed in 2007 to the original plans and since that date has produced 36 pineapples. Pineapples take 3 years to fruit and so, at present, because we're building up stock, we're on second year plants which won't produce fruits until next year.

If you want to try this at home - you need to pick a pineapple from the supermarket with unmarked leaves on the top i.e. the leaves need to be fresh green. Cut the top off the pineapple, strip off any flesh and the 2 bottom tiers of leaves, which may expose some white roots wrapped around the stem. All you need to do them is to put the top into a tumbler of water, making sure that the water only just touches the base of the pineapple top.

Ensure that the glass is kept topped up with the water to the base as it will disappear quite quickly. Rooting should take place within a month. Once rooted, pot into some general soil-based potting compost in the smallest pot possible, in order to accommodate the roots. Once the roots have reached the bottom of the pot, keep potting on into larger pots, remembering the larger the pot, the larger the pineapple.

Be patient - it will take 3 years before you're toasting your first pina colada!

Sam Youd is Gardens Manager at Tatton Park in Cheshire.

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