Visitors to my garden from other places are most enamored with the sight of perfectly ripe fruit hanging delectably within reach, a common sight in Bay Area backyards in the older neighborhoods. We already had a mature large lemon tree (variety unknown) and a dwarf clementine tree in our backyard when we moved in. We have since added one each of a plum, Garden Delicious apple, Lapins cherry and Elberta peach trees, all dwarf or semi-dwarf self-fruitful varieties.
This year I got bitten by a fruit tree (and bush and vine) collecting bug and acquired fruit trees that push the limitations of our 9B hardiness zone in both directions. From chill loving blueberries to tropical sapodillas.
To keep the tropicals alive, I bought a collapsible greenhouse, really a clear plastic tent, held down on our concrete walkway by bricks. On the nicer sunny days, the inside of the greenhouse is exactly like Hawaii – sunny, warm (feels like 85 degrees F) and humid. Very favorable conditions for tropicals, and as it turns out, fungus.
The new trees this year that were planted in the ground – Izu persimmon, Shinseiki Asian pear and Flame red seedless grape were purchased from God’s Little Acre Nursery in San Jose. The others, which all are and will probably continue to be in containers – blueberries, figs, slightly unusual citrus, tropical fruits such as guava, lychee, sugar apple, sapodillas and Surinam cherry, and pomegranates (to be shipped in Spring 2015), and some newly sown papaya seeds.
Choosing and ordering the varieties and vendors involved intensive research, sizable chunks of money and lots of hope. I am amazed at the wealth of knowledge among members of the amateur gardening community and their generosity in sharing it. Impressive also are the efforts of gardeners in far less favorable conditions that mine, growing and consuming fruit from their container grown tropical trees.
The Violette de Bordeaux fig that came in January this year, and was no more than a tiny twig with a couple of leaves, grew vigorously and produced a couple of small but sweet figs, with several more on the way. The kiwis on the other hand were attacked so viciously by bugs, that they failed to thrive and eventually I had to pull them out.
You win some, you lose some.