Maybe ten years ago I saw something behind the lemon tree that was not your usual weed. It was quite close to the fence. Those leaves–I was sure it had to be–and as more of them grew and the tree grew bigger it was.
The critters had planted me a fig tree.
And that fig tree went from a seed in the ground to seven feet tall with two fruits on it by fall.
But at that point it was already pushing against the fence and there was nothing for it but to cut it down. I’d wanted to grow a fig tree ever since, and so as I’ve mentioned this year we finally did and we’re both quite happily anticipating our Black Jacks to come. I went outside tonight specifically to look for any signs it might set fruit this year and in three places I think it will soon.
We had carefully picked out a dwarf variety. None of this seven feet in a year stuff.
I then went over to the mango tree.
That distinctive angular growth pattern, the leaves just starting to grow into the right shape… It couldn’t have been there more than maybe a week–I mean, I look pretty much every day to keep weeds away from there and it wasn’t–when I laid that mulch down a week ago it was not there.
I opened the slider and said to Richard, Guess what’s growing right at the 2×4 behind the mango? (That I use to help block the flow of water to the immediate mango area only.)
The critters planted a fig tree.
(Pause as he too remembered.) You’re joking. (With an unspoken, how…?)
And then I grabbed a trowel, a gallon of water, and filled up an empty clay pot with soil and worked the water into it. The pot was too small by far for anything past maybe the first month but it’s what I had.
I took it over to the baby tree. The mango’s side of that 2×4, good and moist soil we’d put in, the fig’s side, bone-hard clay as if it hadn’t seen rain in its life and it was surprisingly hard to get that trowel down in there. But I knew if I didn’t that seedling would overpower my mango’s roots very fast–one way or another, it had to go. And why waste a perfectly good game of surprise?
Where it is now it will be out of direct sun in the morning to let it recover from the shock. Having had to cut apart the Black Jack’s roots, I knew it would recover. Figs are resilient.
I’m still in a little bit of shock of my own. The tree in the neighborhood that I assume our earlier one had come from? We’re quite sure it was cut down some time ago.
Maybe the compost pile next door?
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