Monday, July 17, 2006

Pinery

Some years ago in Atlanta, I visited an orangery - a greenhouse devoted to growing oranges and other citrus trees.

You may imagine my delight in reading about another sort of greenhouse, the "pinery", in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. A pinery is a greenhouse devoted to growing, not pine trees, but pineapples. They were apparently quite the rage among wealthy landowners in 18/19th century England.

The heroine in Northanger Abbey is similar to Don Quixote, in that she confuses fictional books with real-life. The book is generally considered a minor Austen novel, but it's minor only in relation to her masterpieces. I think it's a fine introduction to the author's work.

6 comments:

Patia said...

Well, that explains all the pineapples on antique English furniture.

Erin said...

Pineapple was also an old symbol for welcome/hospitality (http://www.thepineappleinn.com/tidbits.htm) ...seems to me thoe 18/19th century people liked their pineapples!

Patia said...

Interesting. Probably was a colonial fad ...

big mike said...

>an old symbol for welcome/hospitality

Which explains the pineapple flags that I've seen people hang near their front doors!

Patia said...

I suppose if one of us went over to Wikipedia, we could find out more than we ever wanted to know about pineapples. Unfortunately, I must immediately go to bed.

big mike said...

>we could find out more

I'd be satisfied with a good recipe for Pineapple Upside Down Cake...