Friday, May 25, 2012

My Edible Landscape

I have been trying for an edible landscape for about 20 years.  My husband, a landscaper, is really not interested, so alas, it has been hit and miss.  I am a strange dichotomy - I equally love Town & Country magazine and Mother Earth News magazine.  Actually, as far as "back to the land" magazines, I really enjoy Countryside magazine, which is pretty hard-core and done in black and white with few photos.

Envisioning a yard that is abundant in fruits and vegetables has always been a dream.  When I am feeling particularly earthy, usually not when wearing my St. John suits or all glammed up in a ballgown, I also want chickens and bees.  My husband heartily laughs when I suggest this.  Fortunately, we do not live in a gated community, we live in the historic section of Nokomis, where these things might actually be possible.

As I have noted in previous posts, we are planning on redoing our yard in the next year or so.  We have lived in this house for 25 years and it has had various landscaping plans, which never really jelled.  This is what happens when your husband does this work for a living and really could care less about it when he comes home at night.  We are definitely like the cobbler's children who have no shoes, I am sad to say. 

At times I have had a large rose garden, a large herb garden, lots of citrus trees and tried a variety of different fruits.  I love to be out in the yard during Oct. - May, but when hot and humid June comes along, I tend to conveniently forget about plants that need tending.  One of my very favorite things to do as the sun is setting, is to take a walk around the property and see what is growing, what needs attention, or just sitting on a bench dreaming about what could be.

These are the fruits we have grown well and easily - 1.  We have a large macadamia nut tree in our front yard.  It is probably about 20 feet tall.  It bears tons of macadamia nuts and we have VERY happy squirrels.  We don't usually get ANY of the nuts.  I guess we are just growing it to make the squirrels happy in our neighborhood.  2.  It took several years for our carambola - or star fruit tree to become big and bearing, but now it has abundant fruit on it.  The biggest problem - it freezes quite easily, though it also comes back quite easily.  3.  We inherited two large grapefruit trees, a lemon tree, a lime tree, and a juice orange tree when we bought this house.  They all grew well for many years, but they finally all just gave out.  In fact, we had one pink grapefruit tree that was planted by our septic field that was the talk of the neighborhood.  It gave, literally, about 100 bushels of fruit a year.  Neighbors from all around us would bring their snowbird guests over to our house to have their photo taken with this tree and take home some fruit.  It was a beauty!  Many years ago, I gave my husband a minneola tangelo for his birthday and it, too, was huge.  My husband had someone who had been mowing our lawn "trim" it back two years ago and they basically ruined it.  I literally cried when I saw what he had done.  And he thought he had done a good job - idiot!  Anyway, that tree is just a shadow of its former self and we will probably take it down.  4.  Last year we planted a peach tree, which is coming along, a lychee tree, also doing well, and a fig, which doesn't look that great.  5.  We have a beautiful Barbados cherry bush that came back very nicely after getting frozen two years ago.  6.  As I have shown you previously, I also am growing herbs and vegetables in pots, as well as waiting to plant my new plants from Sunday's sale, which include a hog plum and another fig.

I have a list of things that didn't grow well for me, or did for awhile and then bit the dust.  They were - 1.  Bananas/plantains  - yes, easy to grow, but every one I have ever planted never bore fruit and also froze.  My daughter has had better luck.  2.  Bay and cinnamon trees - I was very excited to grow both of these, but they never really amounted to anything.  3.  Blueberries and raspberries - I think I just didn't do the right things with these, though occasionally, we will have a stray raspberry cane shoot up out of the blue.  4.  Papaya - I have had decent luck with these and have grown them a couple of times, but these grow so tall and freeze easily.  5.  I bought this for the variety name - Cotton Candy Guava - I don't even know if I like guava, but I thought it sounded yummy.  It grew for a bit and then died.  6.  Sugar apple - this kind of grew and though we had fruit on the tree, we never could figure out when it was ripe or how to eat it and then my husband needed the space where it was growing to park his chipper, so out it went.  7.  Last, but not least, pomegranate.  I tried to grow these both in the ground and in a huge pot to no real avail.  I did get a couple of pomegranates off them, but they never looked too terrific.  I just read an article about them in Florida Gardening magazine written by a guy in Bradenton who talked liked they were the easiest things in the world to grow, so I apparently am doing something wrong.

Below are photos of things currently growing in our yard.  I didn't photograph things that aren't doing well, because frankly, who wants to see that!  Wishing you good growing and good eating! 

One macadamia nut that the squirrels haven't eaten.

What the blooms on the macadamia tree looks like.

A Barbados cherry - it has a pretty pink flower as it blooms.

Yay - one lone peach on our year-old tree!

Our lychee tree - no fruit yet, but we have our fingers crossed!

Lots of delicate pink blooms on our carambola tree.

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