Sunday, November 1, 2009

November terrace

I never thought of fig trees in terms of fall colour, until I saw this little tree against a perfectly blue sky last year.

Yellow indeed, and two figs left. I ate one yesterday. It was cold and a little under ripe. Not like summer's honey.

The Abraham Darby has lost almost all of its leaves, but the flowers show no signs of compromise.

The show must go on.

The parsley likes the weather and is putting out new growth. We will eat some tonight in an onion and parsley salad with some buttermilk-battered, fried chicken. I'll let you know how that goes. Vince and I are on our own again: my mom is somewhere above the Atlantic, heading to Dakar on South African Airways, where they will land, sit on the tarmac for an hour and take off again for Johannesburg. Then deplane, and catch another flight to Cape Town. It's a long way.

I have harvested my fennel seeds and know in my heart that I will not eat them. Well...I might. I just remembered slow-roasted shoulder of pork with fennel seeds and garlic and chile and lemon juice.

The calamintha's leaves, such as they are, have turned a beautiful sort of roasted burgundy. Their pepperminty scent is still bitingly fresh.

And a survivor from spring, feeling its oats. Down in South Africa, its nemesia friends are finishing flowering now, in the wild. Another one that likes cool weather.

So the terrace is still there, though neglected of late. Still to come is the turning colour of the Japanese forest grass. For now it remains green.


  1. Do you do anything to protect your fig in winter? I've just taken on a new client with a fig, which I've moved from its old position where it never got enough sun to fruit. I know it's less protected in its new place, but hope it will fruit. Just wondering if I need to do anything special this winter.

  2. Yes, do the pork. You want to. You really want to.

  3. Hi Ellen

    This little terrace faces east, and is protected by a western wall (the apartment). In winter the fig (in quite a small pot: 16" x 16")comes down off the edge of the roof where it gets sun from sunrise to pretty much sunset, and either stays under the stone table or on the barbecue for the winter. I protected it by wrapping the first winter and then flung caution to the NW wind.

    If the new client has a super-windy, esp. west-facing terrace, I might worry, and move it to a more sheltered spot, or its old spot, just for the winter.

  4. Thanks Marie, the fig faces east and, like yours, is up against a west wall (the apartment). The pot is 19 x 19, so I might be able to move it...but I'll monitor the windiness of the site before I do. 'preciate the advice.

  5. This blog is really cool! Is it my imagination or are folks in NYC apartments growing fig trees on their terraces? NYC is a windy cold place in the winter-if you can keep the trees from being battered by the wind, the tree will be fine as the cold will not affect it.

    Cheers to the fig trees!

  6. In NJ where i grew up, the Italians kept fig trees in their front yards. The trees were pretty severely pruned so looked like stumps until the new growth came in each spring, and every winter, each tree was bundled in burlap, big scary lumps. I think maybe modern horticulture now frowns on this? but the idea was to protect the trees from the bitter winter winds and seems to have worked, as the trees achieved 6 or 7 inches in diameter and produced many figs each year.

    About fennel seeds, my Egyptian herb man swears by them for digestive distress of any kind and suggests adding them to any herbal tea especially after a heavy meal.

  7. South Africa isn't that far at all. In time and space.

  8. Oh Marie. I just loved this...That rose is a stunner. Love the yellow leaves. I am planting a fig this winter..along with some other trees..I need more trees around here...
    I get my trees from Apples of Antiquity north of here about 30minutes in Paso Robles..

    Thomas at A Growing Tadtion has a link if you want to see some really great heirloom trees. Got 3 heirloom apples from him last January....

  9. Wow, who knew that fig trees made for such beautiful foliage.


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