“We have this year more than a dozen apple trees loaded with fruit, a good many plum, cherry and peach trees, all with more or less fruit, and a great many young ones coming on. We have also some gooseberry, currant and pear trees not yet bearing, and a few roots of rhubarb”. – John Deans 1847
In the shelter provided by the nearby Riccarton Bush, the Deans brothers began to plant their own orchard. At the future site of Riccarton House (still over a decade away from being built) grew their veggie garden. Both brothers wrote home to Scotland about their progress and their enjoyment of tending to their harvest.
In 1846, John Deans traveled to Auckland and brought home with him some tree seedlings. Amongst these was a pear tree (pictured on the far right) that still graces the grounds of Riccarton today and even better, still bears fruit! Although after all these years, the pears need to be well cooked to be edible.
This pear tree is all that has survived from this early orchard, still at its original site and still taking its shelter offered by Riccarton Bush, 168 years later (as at 2014)!
*Photo courtesy of Annette Bulovic*