Asian pear extraordinaire
Asian pears are a delicacy quite unlike European pears. One standout in Northwest gardens is 'Korean Giant' (also known as 'Large Korean' or 'Olympic'). Its globe-shaped fruit, which ripen to golden brown in early fall, can weigh more than a pound. The flesh is very crisp, juicy, and sweet, with a mildly spicy edge; the attractive tree grows to 15 feet tall.
'Korean Giant' is well suited to Sunset climate zones 2-7 and 17. It thrives in full sun and loamy soil but will tolerate heavy, wet soil. To produce fruit, 'Korean Giant' needs cross-pollination from another Asian pear variety growing nearby or from a European pear that blooms at the same time. Look for container-grown Asian pears at local nurseries, or order bare-root stock from Greer Gardens (800/548-0111) or Raintree Nursery (360/496-6400).