Letting Go

We’ve all made this gardening mistake, at least once …

It broke my heart to see my beloved fig tree being carried out of my garden. I made the ultimate mistake many gardeners will not admit to — I did NOT pay attention to the concept of “Right Plant, Right Place” when I purchased my Black Mission Fig Tree.

We fell in love with those tasty morsels of joy in Italy and we had to have one in our front yard. It was totally spontaneous on purpose and it was on sale, so of course, we bought it. We couldn’t wait until our first harvest! Tim wanted to make fig ice cream. I wanted to serve them at every meal on our patio.

It was the Right Plant, but it was absolutely, no doubt about it, in the Wrong Place. We didn’t take into consideration SIZE and I know that one of the most important things to keep in mind in any garden is: How big is that plant going to be in three years?

We did not pay attention to the fact that our fig wanted to be a very large (25-30 foot) tree and at least that, if not more, in width. Did I mention our tiny front yard is only 15 feet deep?!?

One of my dearest gardening friends is Karen Turcotte. When she came over and saw our newest addition to the garden, she did not waste any time to help me realize my error by not buying a dwarf or an ultra-dwarf fig. In my defense, I justified it by swearing I would prune it really, really well every winter and then I would be able to keep it to a manageable height. Wrong!

Last winter, I pruned it to five feet high and in one growing season, it doubled in size. We had an extremely productive harvest and we loved every one of those delicious bites, as did our passing neighbors. In the fall, when her leaves fell, we hung large Christmas ornaments on it and it made me smile every time I walked out the door.

In my heart of hearts, I knew she had to go because she would never be happy where we planted her. I found a landscape designer who had his guys dig her up for a client who was creating an orchard and he knew she would be a welcome addition.

Today, I watched while they dug her up. Although I was sad, I was happy she was going to a good home … to an orchard where she could spread out her branches and be all she was meant to be … a very large, delicious and productive fig tree. Ciao, Bella!

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