Monday, June 13, 2011
A Phig Grows in Philly
I always thought figs were difficult to grow even in central VA, and was surprised years ago when I saw them at Monticello. I then learned that people went through great lengths to grow them up north, using elaborate methods to shield them from cold, from building temporary winter structures for them to actually tipping the plants over into the soil over winter! My figs have been very easy to grow and care for (see my very first entry on this blog). Two weekends ago we went to Philadelphia (an underrated city- I enjoyed it very much) and stayed in the Italian Market District (great food). First, I visited Bartram's Garden again and saw the fig they have growing there-the first time I saw it two years ago, I was astonished it grew so well so far north. And then, on this trip, I saw what is in the photo above: two huge fig trees growing against a building near the Italian Market. Italian and Greek immigrants brought figs to the US in great numbers and I suspect one of them brought these. The plants are in a sheltered location, get protection and radiant heat from the brick building and look quiet happy, with huge figs on them already! Unfortunately, one photo we neglected to take was a volunteer fig growing out of a crack in the pavement. Indeed, on the visit to Philly, I saw several such figs, entwined in fences, next to other trees or growing where no one would plant them. I think figs are tougher than their reputation and I highly recommend them!
One more note: Edible landscaping in Afton , VA has many varieties of figs, including the most cold tolerant, the Chicago fig.