No Bradford

“No Bradford”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


More trees are starting to flower.  I have already posted about the peach trees, Japanese magnolias, redbuds, and now the Callery pear has started flowering, almost overnight it seems.  I know there are many who say that this tree should not be  planted, but come springtime and the appearance of the hundreds of small flowers it seems worth it.






Our tree has just started flowering, and it won’t be long before it is covered in white flowers.  The most common cultivar of Callery pear is the Bradford, but I don’t think we have a Bradford.  I think we have another cultivar.  Our tree does not have the dense, upward growth of the Bradford.  Our tree has a more open pyramid growth pattern.  When we bought this tree, it was just labled flowering pear, but it was also about the time that people were being discouraged from planting the Bradfords, so for all these reasons, I don’t think we have a Bradford.


With the temperatures reaching 80 to 85 degrees for the last three days, it does seem that spring is here to stay, and this blooming pear tree just seems to reinforce that belief.


  1. March 10, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Do you notice a slightly unpleasant odor to the flowers of your pear? Around here, the flowering pear, of which there are many cultivars, is over-planted and that odd smell can permeate the neighborhood. But I agree, from a distance it is a beautiful spring flowering tree.

    • Jan said,

      March 11, 2009 at 4:53 am

      Carol, I remembered people saying last year the odor from these flowers were something else, and I meant to check it out, but forgot. I was right next to the flowers taking photos and didn’t notice anything, so maybe mine do not smell. I’ll have to check it out this afternoon.

      Anna, there have been a few times when we have lost the azalea flowers to a late freeze, so I know how disappointing it can be to have spring flowers ruined. Our tree has been through several hurricanes, including Katrina, without any damage, so we have been lucky not to have lost any limbs.

      Janet, I’ll have to check out those varieties and see if one of them looks like our pear tree. I love the color of the Jane magnolia. Be sure to post some photos of yours when the flowers open.

      Yes, Chandramouli, things are really coming along fast now in the garden. It won’t be long before everything has sprung back to life and filled out.

  2. March 10, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    As usual ours have bloomed too and are beautiful. But…the cold is coming over the weekend and will spoil some of the blooms. It always happens. Darn NC weather.

    Our town has tried to plant the hardier variety that doesn’t get its limbs torn from the body with every storm. But…that still happens.

  3. janet said,

    March 10, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Jan, There are so many other varieties of Pyrus callery out there that aren’t as brittle nor as narrow crotched. I bet you have ‘Redspire ” or ‘Capital” both of which are more pyramidal shaped. Yours will last longer and look better as the years progress.
    I love the spring blooming trees. My magnolia “Jane” is just about to unfurl her petals. 🙂

  4. March 10, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Oh it’s all becoming colorful in your garden, Jan. I see that your garden’s coming to life in stages and I’m sure by few days, it’s gonna be colorful and lush all around.

  5. janet said,

    March 11, 2009 at 6:02 am

    Jan, I don’t know if you found out about the ‘smell’ of the flowers. One Master Gardener told me, and I didn’t check it out, but will pass this along anyway. The fragrance from the early blooming pears is likened to rotting meat. It is the fly that pollinates the blooms as it is usually too early for the bees to be in abundance. That is what I was told… for what it is worth makes an interesting story.

    • Jan said,

      March 11, 2009 at 6:31 pm

      Janet, I went out and smelled my ornamental pear and there is no bad odor, in fact, there doesn’t seem to be an odor at all. I guess this means that my tree isn’t a Bradford. I also see honey bees around the flowers, not flies.

      Racquel, that is what I have read about the Bradfords being susceptible to wind and ice damage. It is a shame because they are such pretty trees.

      Brenda, we have two Barlett pears that bear good fruit if we can get it before the squirrels. I wonder if your pear tree bears cooking pears? These are usually harder and can’t be eaten raw, but are delicious cooked.

      Stu, your opinion seems to be the majority. Bradfords are pretty trees in the spring time, but don’t usually last long before some sort of damage occurs because of the brittle branches.

  6. Racquel said,

    March 11, 2009 at 9:25 am

    It looks so pretty when it is in full flower in the spring. We had the Bradford variety in our back garden for years but Hurricane Isabel destroyed it in 2004. 😦

  7. Brenda Kula said,

    March 11, 2009 at 11:12 am

    It’s raining cats and dogs here today. I have a pear tree. It’s the fruit tree that actually bears pears! Which for some strange reason I don’t like the taste of much. It’s not a very big tree. Every year the fruit takes the branches down to the ground cause they’re so heavy. I tell the neighbors to take all they want. It’s out by the street anyway.

  8. Stu said,

    March 11, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Yes, I would have to agree with those that say “no Bradford”, but provided one of the hardier varieties is used I would have to agree they are a beautiful bloomers.

  9. nancybond said,

    March 11, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    I think your tree is lovely — my grandfather had three pear trees which lined the short driveway to his house many years ago. I used to be fascinated to see the pears grow, mature and ripen on his trees — until I discovered the trees, I thought pears came in cans. 😉

    • Jan said,

      March 11, 2009 at 7:04 pm

      Nancy, that’s a cute story, though I am sure there are many instances where children don’t associate a product with a nature.

  10. March 15, 2009 at 8:57 am

    NOT going to be seeing roses in bloom here anytime soon, Jan, except indoors, but that doesn’t hinder my sighing happily over yours, not one bit! Thank you for sharing those with us.

  11. December 2, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    The author Dirr, wrote in one book that the flowering pear was “genetically prone to self-destruction”, which correlates with what I see in our region near Portland.

    Even the new varieties have not overcome the brittle nature of the wood.

    I’m not even sure that whether they should be planted or not needs to be addressed, as much as that other species seem to be far better choices. Better as trees that is, but maybe not much better as substitutes for that flower.

    MDV / Oregon

    • Jan said,

      December 3, 2009 at 4:30 am

      MD, I love the Bradford pear since they give us fall color as well as blooms. The ones around here haven’t shown any problems yet with brittleness, but I think that is because they have really only been planted in the last ten or so years, so they still are a medium size. I suspect that in the future we will see the same problems show up that other areas of the country have, esp. with the wind from hurricanes. It is a shame since this is such a pretty tree, but I have to agree with you that there are better trees that can be planted.

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