It looked like an early touch of autumn colour on the leaves of our pear trees. We thought nothing of it, especially since they’d both produced a bumper crop of fruit.

Until we looked underneath the leaves.

Here be monsters.

Not having seen anything like this before, I had to do a bit of digging – not in the garden this time, but on Google and the like.

Our trees were suffering from Pear Rust. It turns out there’s no publicly-available treatment, and even those used by professionals would have left our pears toxic and inedible. We should have been taking off the first affected leaves to stop the spread, but by the time I’d found there was a problem, that would have left our poor trees denuded in September and without their supply of Chlorophyll – which trees pull back from their leaves before letting them drop so as to avoid the effort of having to manufacture it anew the following spring.

The only thing for it is to rake up the leaves as they fell and burn them – which for us means stashing them in the garage and waiting for the chance for a good bonfire. It’s boring and there are other things I’d rather be doing with my time but in the absence of treatment or a vaccine there doesn’t appear to be an alternative.

I can only hope it works better than our country’s pre-vaccine efforts to stop the spread of a more well-known blight.