Fig Tree Before After

It’s OK to Make Mistakes

It broke my heart to see my beloved fig tree being carried out of my garden. I had made the ultimate gardening mistake: I did not pay attention to the concept of right plant, right place when I purchased my Black Mission fig tree.

It was the right plant. My husband and I fell in love with figs in Italy and it was a matter of time till we tried to grow our own. We found a Black Mission fig tree at a local nursery and happily planted it near our front gate. It turned out to be not exactly the right place. In fact, it was definitely the wrong place. Our gorgeous fig wanted to be 25 feet wide, and without pruning, it could grow to be 40 feet wide. Our front yard is 15 feet at its widest point.

One of my dearest gardening friends, Karen Turcotte, came over shortly after the fig was planted. She didn’t waste a minute pointing out my error, and she couldn’t understand why we hadn’t bought a dwarf or even an ultra-dwarf fig. Guilty as charged. I swore I would prune really, really well every winter and I would keep the Black Mission to a manageable height.

Last winter I pruned it to five feet high—that growing season, it doubled in size. In my heart of hearts, I knew my beloved fig had to go; she would never be happy where we’d planted her. Thankfully, I found a local landscaper with a client who was starting an orchard.

I watched while they dug her up. I was sad to see her go, but I was happy she was going to a good home—to an orchard where she could spread her limbs and be all she was meant to be, an exceptional, very large, black mission fig tree. Ciao, Bella!

Lesson learned.

Toni Gattone

Toni Gattone

Adaptive Gardening Expert and Inspirational Change-Agent.Toni’s enthusiasm is contagious. She is passionate about empowering gardeners with practical, how-to information. While gardeners of all ages and abilities appreciate her work, she especially enjoys working with modern elders, boomers and seniors who are growing older and yet want to live bolder lives. Her posts are information rich, with helpful resources, that will keep you coming back for what’s new. Toni is a caring and compassionate gardening guide and cheerleader, and oh by the way, she’s very Italian.

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