Tree diaries: foreign correspondence

Apr 6, 2021

I said in the flagship post of this blog that I am the owner of two fig trees but the caretaker of one, and in my second post I shared an update about my ward. Now, I will introduce my estranged daughter, living with her grandfather overseas.

We got this fig in the early summer of 2019, as a roughly half-meter tall twig from the Ithaca Farmers’ Market. For the first couple months of its life with us it lived outside next to the porch in its original disposable pot. By the time I bought a large ceramic pot for it for my wife’s birthday in late August, it had grown well over a meter taller, and also well into the ground underneath its pot! Transplanting it was a bit traumatic, as deep roots had to be cut to free it from the ground. I can’t find any pictures of it from this phase of its life.

That winter we did not understand the principle of overwintering figs, and mistakenly tried to keep its leaves on as the days became shorter and colder. Here is a picture of the tree from November of 2019, with some baby spiders climbing all over it:

Our American fig in November of 2019

Our misguided attempts to keep the tree awake that winter made him quite confused, and in January he started growing a fig!

Our fig tree with a tiny green fig, and the author's feet

Of course, with the short winter days and cold temperatures, the fig never ripened and I had to throw it out.

The tree bounced back from this experience and started growing voraciously this summer. The only picture I have of it is from June, early in its growth spurt:

Our fig tree last summer

In August we had to abandon him to move across and then out of the country, and left him in the care of my father-in-law. This time, with strict instructions on how to appropriately overwinter the poor thing! He reportedly lost his leaves and slept in a healthy way, though by February he became impatient. On Valentines day we received this picture:

Our fig tree on Valentines day

By mid-March, things had progressed further:

Our fig tree on Valentines day

Despite an early start, he looks to be in good hands! With any luck, he might yield his first edible figs this summer, though we probably will not be around to enjoy them.