By Sybil

When I moved into my house more than five years ago there wasn’t much in the way of landscaping. There was an empty mid-Century modern planter, podocarpus and three huge round holly bushes.

I have put so very much in the yard. A partial list follows…

I’ve sprouted and planted three mango trees, three long-needle pines, oleander, an enormous (it didn’t start that way) butterfly and hummingbird garden, bougainvillea, wisteria, a Norfolk Pine, pineapple tops (I’ve harvested one already), and one Brown Turkey fig tree.

That fig tree had me puzzled for months because it seemed to be thriving and growing but I never saw any fruit until this past Spring. Tiny little baby figs that just sat there on the branches. Small. Green. Perpetual youths.

Months later (it IS FALL) and somewhat aggravated, I goggled unripened figs and found that lack of rain and nutrition can be an issue and BOOM… Maturation was on with some Milorganite and regular irrigation. You are looking at two grown up FIGS. Rick, Domino and Grace all implied they looked like something else…

Fun fact: Did you know figs don’t develop without the help of wasps?

In order to pollinate the fruits, the trees have a special relationship with a type of wasp which burrows inside figs to lay its eggs (dragging pollen). After hatching, the baby wasps mate and the males, who are born sharp-toothed but wingless, chew holes through the fig’s skin for the winged females’ escape. So when we eat figs, we are eating dead male wasps. FUN! I try not to think about this when eating figs.

Just like I try not to think about Charlotte’s Web while eating ribs.

 

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