I absolutely adore figs. I don’t think I’d ever eaten one until I was an adult, and it was the most delightful revelation, all that sweetness and texture and flavor–oh! They don’t travel particularly well, so the only times to eat them are the short seasons in late spring and early fall when they are finally available in the produce section of the local high-end markets. They don’t grow in Colorado, so they are not even at farmer’s markets.
So I got it into my head to grow a couple of fig trees. I read that you could bring them in to overwinter, so I ordered a couple and put them in pots and–you know, despite all the challenges, they’re doing all right. Kind of scruffy looking–every year, they start leafing out too early in the basement and I have to bring them up into the full light, where then they have to have an adjustment period outside, and drop a bunch of leaves. But I keep trying.
It has been three summers and these two lovely figs are the first harvest off my little hard-scrabble trees. Aren’t they the loveliest figs you’ve ever seen? My friend Mel Scott, fellow painter friend, suggested they should be immortalized in watercolor, and so they should.
Christopher Robin teases me about how much time, money, water, and energy I spend on things I can buy at the grocery store for usually much, much less. But when I cook a pot of new potatoes that I just carried in from the garden, the feeling in my heart is so much bigger and happier than the same new potatoes I picked up at the farmer’s market. They’re all delicious. Mine are just that tiny bit better. The heads of garlic I carry upstairs in January from the cool place in the basement where I set the to cure are imbued with love and sunlight I know, and water I poured on them. They’re local and organic in the most satisfying possible way. My ears of corn are much smaller than the ones I could buy at the store, but they make me so happy.
This is one of those things gardeners share that others scratch their heads over, but, oh, aren’t they just so very very beautiful?