Monday, 19 July 2010

Fig Trees and The Sentimental Garden

You don't often see figs growing in England. Fig trees yes, but actual figs, not so often. The RHS says that figs will crop three times a year in tropical countries, twice in the mediteranean, but only once in cool temperate areas like England. The tree is hardy enough to withstand our winters happily, but getting some fruit is apparently, as with so many things in life, all in the timing.
Fig trees make an enormous amount of growth, and often sucker at the base - this tree in fact was a sucker that I pulled up from a tree growing in the garden of the French house we had a few years ago. So it's a kind of nice souvenir, although I don't know what the variety is, but it reminds me of those few balmy summers we enjoyed in the Charente every time I look at it. One of the differences between one's own garden and a public garden like the RHS (apart from the weeds) is that in our own patches we have some plants for sentimental rather than purely horticultural reasons. And there's nothing wrong with that. The Edwardian gardener Gertrude Jekyll would certainly not have approved, she said the gardener has to have a hard heart, and remove any failing plants and replace them with something better. And I can see her point, why struggle with a plant that is clearly unsuited to its surroundings. But we home gardeners have no paying clients to please and we can afford to be a  bit more sentimental, and persevere with our funny old fig trees and so on.

Anyway, according to the RHS, if you want to grow figs in England, the thing to do is to leave the little tiny figs that form late in the year, as next year they will grow and mature into your single crop.  My crop is, of course, entirely accidental, it  just seems to have turned out right. Now I'm hoping we have enough sun to sweeten and ripen them up by the end of summer.




6 comments:

  1. Dear Kathy, How exciting to have figs which I absolutely adore either cooked or raw. With Parma Ham, I think it is a marriage of flavours made in Heaven.

    I agree that so often one sees fig trees in England but no fruit. I have always understood that to fruit well, the roots of the fig tree needed to be restrained. Indeed, I can recall the most prolific fig trees as being planted in poor conditions and often against a wall.

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  2. Oh, I love figs! I have been trying to grow some here with out any success.We have that black clay soil and they just don't like it.I am not giving up yet...I am going to try some in big pots...they won't grow as big but at least I will get some ...I hope!

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  3. Living in SW France, we are blessed with a vigorous fig tree, which this year has decided to give us a smaller early crop as well as the later main crop. Perhaps this was because we trimmed it back - maybe it thought it ought to make a super duper effort otherwise it would get chopped down!

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  4. Very interesting post! I have 1 1/2 fig trees, the 1 has about half a dozen figs on it, but the little one is pretty much stunted from a pesky pup. I still have no clue as to when they are "ready" and what to do with them when they are! LOL! They are so small, I am hoping they get some height to them.

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  5. Have really enjoyed discovering your blog and would love you to share one of your posts at my new Meme We Can Wednesday.

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  6. funny timing yesterday just planted a fig!!!

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