Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Figs in MY garden!

Figs! My fig tree, which I planted years ago, as a comical fig... stick (and paid, I think, something like $7.50 for), actually has figs. Real, genuine, visible figs. The thing could barely muster a single leaf when I first had it. Seriously, the first year, I think it had one sickly looking leaf that would not have covered the naughty bits of the smallest statue the Vatican has. And now, the thing has leaves aplenty, and figs. Plural. Look- you can actually count multiple figs, just in this picture.

Of course, there's a catch. I've been negligent about pruning it, as I am negligent with most things in my garden. I am a day-late-dollar-short sort of gardener, which means that although I do actually do backbreaking amounts of work (admittedly in fits and starts), it's usually too late for anything in my garden to benefit from it.

And the thing is, although I had a flash of common sense and planted the fig in a sheltered spot (south side of my brick house) that would cook anything that didn't have a lusty Mediterranean disposition, I wasn't really on top of the pruning. Which is to say I think I lopped off a branch. Once. Several years ago.
I had envisioned espaliering (don't ask me to spell that properly, please) the fig, and a neighbor offered to let me use her post hole digger (which I couldn't identify if she hit me with it), but, lazy thing that I am, I just never got around to it. I will say, in my defense, that I always had a suspicion that the fig, visible (I think) to my insane neighbor's house (and she is quite, quite k-k-k-crazy, like thinks one of my other neighbors turns invisible and puts rats in her house crazy), would see it as too tempting to NOT vandalize. I go on periodic "pickling" sprees, she goes on periodic plant vandalization sprees. Everyone has their own thing. And now, through neglect (with great excuses!) the figs are probably out of the reach of even my very tall husband. And if I was too lazy to prune it, who really thinks that I will show enough initiative to go haul the ladder up out of the garage and around the house to check the figs for ripeness and then pick them?

I am not planning on betting on myself, here. Still, all this pickling and cooking energy often, eventually, (sometimes) translates itself into something more constructive, like yard work. My plan - again, don't place bets you're not willing to lose on me doing this - is to possibly try doing some post hole digging and planting (honey, I hope you're not reading this part, since I haven't yet discussed this part of my half-baked master plan with you yet), and then, come late fall, prune the thing back brutally. It might well kill it, but I am hoping that since it was once The Little Fig Stick That Could, it will instead bravely send out side shoots for the intended espaliering to occur. And, well, if I kill it, I'm only back $7.50, which is about how much it seems a good basket of figs runs, anyway.

This photo sort of shows my fig. As well as my problem with my fig. The wisteria (which is already too heavy for the wood arch) is farthest away, covering the arch and probably already requiring some vigorous pruning. The rosemary is next farthest, and taller than I am (not hard, but I still think it's totally cool). It's still in bloom, a bit, which attracts hummingbirds (I had no idea they liked rosemary flowers until I saw one flitting around in the rosemary), which I get a huge kick out of. The parsley and chives and summer savory are sort of sprawling out, low, with the heaps of camellia flowers that need raking up scattering across the sidewalk, and a fuschia that I can't quite bring myself to get rid of. Lots of explaining, really, for one thing. That long stick-y thing heading upwards and out of the photo?- my fig. My very, very tall fig.

In the distance of this picture is my daughter's dump truck. Here's a slightly closer look. And in the forefront of the photo, some sort of plant-y thing is snaking out with plans to go forth and take over my yard (I'm betting on the fuschia). It obviously needs to be sternly spoken to, pruned and put in its place.

And I, I think, need to go have some coffee and chocolate and ponder what the best course might be for my fig... that I might actually do. And hopefully doesn't involve any shout-y encounters (she gets antsy whenever I do yard work in sight of her house... and since we have a teeny yard, that's pretty much when I do yard work. And she gets a wee bit shouty when she gets antsy) with my next-door insane neighbor calling me a whore who has nothing but envy and has nothing to eat. Maybe she means it fondly.

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