(PRWeb UK) July 12, 2010
The Lost Gardens of Heligan have just cut their first pineapple of the season, grown using an authentic Victorian technique, which they calculate would have cost the equivalent of £10,000.
The miniature fruit was grown in the restored Pineapple Pit, in the Melon Yard at Heligan, using the natural warmth of 30 tonnes of manure to heat the complex Victorian structure.
Heligan, which now boasts the finest productive garden in the UK, restored the derelict Pineapple Pit after discovering it 20 years ago, covered in ivy and 5ft high brambles.
A team of horticultural and restoration experts worked alongside the Heligan Productive Gardens team, determined to unlock the forgotten 70 year old technique of growing pineapples -- and they succeeded!
The second pineapple ever grown at Heligan, using the rediscovered Victorian technique, was sent to the Queen by Heligan Director Tim Smit. The first was tasted by the Heligan Gardeners to check it didn't still have a hint of 'farmyard warmth' about it!
“Heligan pineapples are like no pineapple you've ever tasted,” says Marketing Manager, Lorna Tremayne. “It's deliciously sweet, not stringy, and the flavour explodes in your mouth. One taste and shop bought pineapples will not be good enough ever again.”
Rare, exotic and hard to grow, pineapples were a symbol of great status and wealth in Victorian times. A pineapple on your dining table meant you were a person of discernment, style and affluence. The Heligan team have calculated that, not including the cost of building the Pineapple Pit, just the labour and resources required to grow the pineapples each year would have been over £10,000 in today's money.
Nowadays finding the right manure to keep the plants warm over the winter in the Pineapple Pit is difficult. The horse manure must be mixed with straw to produce the correct chemical reaction, which creates the heat and humidity required. But as many stables have switched to the use of sawdust and other more modern materials instead of straw, to bed their horses on, this year the 30 tonnes needed to be transported from a stable near Falmouth.
“The Pineapple Pit is a perfect example of how Heligan blends restoration, heritage horticultural techniques and a passion for gardening to produce exciting results,” said MD, Peter Stafford, who adds “However I think it’s unlikely we’ll be supplying Tesco in the near future.”
Pineapple and Heligan fans can stay in touch with the Productive Gardens, and its activities via http://www.lostgardensofheligan.blogspot.com where they can also get gardening tips too.
The Productive Gardens: Heligan's Productive Gardens are the largest in the UK, and visitors can see fine and rare examples of plants and horticultural expertise. They can also chat to the productive Garden team for insights and tips on gardening.
Interviews: Nicola Bradley, Productive Gardens Supervisor, is available for interviews on request. To arrange either a visit to The Lost Gardens or a phone interview with Nicola please contact Lorna Tremayne & Sarah de Courcy at The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall on 01726 843740 or email pr(at)heligan(dot)com