The Sonoma Garden: Six reasons why I love my fig tree

Posted on July 26, 2016 by Sonoma Valley Sun

fig tree(By Karen Boness) — “I am the OTHER girl and the fig.” I declared that nearly four years ago when I bought my little ranch-style house on Sonoma’s west side. I like my little house, although it really isn’t anything very special. But my fig tree –it’s amazing.

This tree typically evokes superlative responses from newcomers to my home. “Wow!” or “That is the most beautiful fig tree I’ve ever seen.” Or, “It’s so lush!” I don’t know if my fig is the most beautiful fig out there, but I adore it.

It was raining down plump, gorgeous, delicious figs when I first met it at a sparsely attended open house. If I’m honest with myself I bought a fig tree that came with a house rather than the other way around. Here are six reasons why I love my fig tree:

  1. My fig tree provides two outstanding crops of fruit each year. We eat the figs fresh, dry them for winter consumption, make fig vinegar for salad dressings and brew fig Armagnac for our souls. Yum.
  2. Fig trees provide excellent shade in the summer. The other day I beat the heat and set up a portable desk under its canopy.
  3. I don’t have to irrigate my fig tree. It is old and wily enough to have found its own source of water somewhere deep in my soil.
  4. In summer it is a pleasure to look at its dense, lush, shiny, lobed leaves.
  5. In winter I enjoy my fig tree’s crazy and wild branching form. Every year I consider and reject thoughts of pruning those weird branches to make my fig look more tame. But it is those wild branches that offer up the best low hanging fruit.
  6. Fig trees are terrific habitat plants. Plant a fig, feed a feathered friend. Raccoons seem to enjoy figs too.

I’ll tell you more about figs and fig trees in the days and weeks to come. Feel free to email me at [email protected] if you have any garden topics or questions you would like me to write about.



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