I have ten varieties of figs and the first two, the Black Genoa and the White Adriatic came to me as sticks smaller than pencils. I potted them and kept moving them up into larger sized pots as time went by.
The Black Genoa was first to fruit (four years later?); that’s why it’s Number One. It also deserves the title because it is the biggest, sires more saplings, bears more fruit and boasts the biggest fig of them all: a palm size gem, a luscious feast for breakfast.
I tried to photograph the tree this morning. It was nigh impossible because of its size, my size and the inadequacies of my iPhone5. From its home of a 60cm pot, it risees into the sky (how high? I can stand under its lower branches and couldn’t touch the top even if I step on a 3 step ladder) and spreads itself (how wide? I can take two leaps under its shade) across my tiny courtyard, under the jacaranda tree.
I hang my orchids on the fig tree to weigh the branches down so that I can reach some figs easily. I try not to climb ladders too often.
The eldest of BG’s ‘children’ is already is as big as its mother, because I stuck it in the ground at the back corner of my property and it grew and grew. Now the neighbours are harvesting figs from their side.
They make the new year special. Still green now but as the year ends ripe figs will announce another crop of edible flowers – that’s what figs are, bags full of buds in their centre. Every year a number of rooted cuttings also leave my orchard and bear fruit for friends. That, perhaps, is the best harvest of all.