There was now employment for the whole party; for though they could not all talk, they could all eat; and the beautiful pyramids of grapes, nectarines, and peaches soon collected them round the table. Pride and Prejudice Pemberly was most certainly self-sufficient when it came to providing summer fruits for their guests’ enjoyment, and it comes as no suprise that the bounty provided included peaches…a most difficult fruit to cultivate in England at that time. Perhaps Pemberley’s kitchen garden resembled that belonging to Chawton Great House, a place Jane Austen would no doubt have enjoyed and been familiar with. Edward Knight’s “new” and now existing garden was, according to the Great House trustees, “built in 1818-1822 as a kitchen garden with fruit trees on all the inner walls and on the outer sides of the south and east walls and with hard and soft fruits within. The garden was fully enclosed by malmstone and brick walls with small doorways in each wall”. The trees planted along the inner walls are trained in an espalier fashion which is both decorative and useful when harvest arrives. Although peaches originated in China, they were brought to the Middle East by means of the Silk Road and from there made their way to Europe and England. Oceanic climate areas like the Pacific Northwest and the British Isles are generally not satisfactory for peach growing due to inadequate summer heat, though they are sometimes grown trained against south-facing walls to catch extra heat from the (more…)
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