I have slowly been collecting trees for a few years. I started by saving ‘orphaned’ native trees and expanded to fruit trees last spring. My first tree was a tiny long leaf pine that was growing in a plant bed. There were a few of them and I asked my friend helping me to leave them behind while pulling out the weeds. I come back to find they were all gone! I went behind the fence by the canal to find one bare root seedling the size of my finger sitting right on top of the pile of garden waste. That was about 5 years ago and today it is at least 8 feet tall.
I have since moved from my old house to help family and expand on my tree farming and vegetable gardening. My friend who now lives in my old house has also gotten into gardening, so plants I left behind are relatively safe. I started off with trees growing along the canal, including live oak, red maple, and some trees I believe to be black cherry. Unfortunately it is too warm for most cherry trees to produce significant fruit, but maybe they will grow up to become furniture one day!
After a few years of playing around, I finally got serious about producing my own food. Since I really like trees, I started off buying a fig, pear, pomegranate, and Persian lime. I have picked up a few more trees and just received a package of seeds for even more trees. My yard right now is a blank slate. It had an above ground pool and some sort of fire brick structure that was torn down and unfortunately most of the stone, brick, and concrete debris was buried so they could have a level yard with dreaded grass! So I am in the process of digging up and sifting through hundreds of cubic feet of soil (mostly sand) and making nice homes for my trees and vegetables.
Since the garden has a lot of work needed before it takes any kind of shape that resembles a garden, I figured I would start off by showing what trees I have to work with. Later I will post about my tree seeds when they start to sprout as well as any trees I buy/find/propagate this spring. On with the pics!
Above are a few eastern red cedars. I see a lot of them here at the beach and they seem to grow well, with new growth a bright green that I enjoy seeing spread across the trees. The barely noticeable stick on the left is a tupelo, or black gum, which has had a hard life. I found it under the deck at my brother’s house when I was doing repairs. I brought it home and it lost most of its leaves. The hot August sun killed the rest of the leaves in 2011. Last year it did much better, but again weakened by a brutal August sun and leaves held on till October. I like the way the leaves seem to curl up to the trunk in a strong wind, like it is battening down the hatches. It has already seen a few tropical storms and has many more in its future.
Here we have a pomegranate and what I think are black cherry trees. Not pictured, off to the right, is another pomegranate. The pomegranates finally lost most of the leaves a couple weeks ago. I think having the fence behind them, capturing afternoon sun, helped keep them warm and hold their leaves much longer than other pomegranates I have seen in the area. The other trees appear to be black cherry. The leaves look the same and they smell like almonds when you tear them open. The only confusing part is supposedly black cherry has some kind of hair-like growth underneath the leaves. These don’t have that, but they are small. Another tree called a choke cherry is supposed to be similar without the hair, but the pics I have seen have leaves that are a bit different, and black cherry pics I have found have leaves exactly the same when viewed on top. One thing about these trees I found is that they spread out shallow roots and new trees form off the roots. I will have to go back to where I found them and get better pics to try and get a definitive answer.
Here is my Persian (Tahitian) lime. Not much to say about this one other than I bought it last spring, and it has been so hot lately that it has started new growth all over. I pruned it back when it was cold a few weeks ago. It had some branches growing towards the ground and back in on itself so I cleaned it up. I’m a little worried if we get a frost that all the new growth will get damaged. Luckily between the fence behind it, and the ocean a few blocks away, it would have to get unusually cold for it to freeze. I can always cover it up if they predict a frost.
And my last pic for today. In the foreground we have 2 clusters of pygmy date palms I picked up, both for just $15 at the ‘Depot. I think one of them will make their way to the front yard with a southern magnolia and a key lime sometime this spring. In the back we have a bunch of figs and an avocado. The avocado is from a seed and I might try my hand at grafting to it, since it will not likely produce any amount of edible fruit on its own. The same goes for the black cherry trees. I will try my hand at grafting on the trees I got for free, and these are supposed to be among the easiest to graft. As for the figs, these are all propagated from a single fig I bought for $6 at Ace. The big one is nearly as big as the parent and has twice the foliage. Super easy to grow and I cant wait to get into doing it to more trees. Sorry for the crummy pics, I will get things weeded and mulched and easier to see in the coming weeks. If you have any questions or insights I would be glad to hear them. I’m still in the process of figuring out permanent homes for the trees. I am growing them for fun so I really don’t mind if I have to sell, give away, or even cut down a tree that doesn’t fit in with the crowd. I’d rather have to cycle through trees like they are annuals than grow grass and weeds in the yard. Thanks to everyone for having a look!