Thursday, May 19, 2016

...and this just in from our hedgerow correspondent...

Figs, now. The old Pig Sty Avenue allotment had a fig bush growing on its boundary, planted by don't know who, don't know when, but it was mature. No fruit from it, maybe it was a male tree, maybe its roots weren't confined or chopped through. But the thing that has stayed with me: right up to November, its stubby wee flowers would be a like a flying insect Piccadilly Circus; I particularly remember hover-flies. 

And any meaningful assemblage of trees must have a few figs. There's Adam & Eve's pinnies, for one thing. I sowed the seeds from a fresh fig once, and was impressed by how easy it was. Can't remember now what happened to the plants. Years, and years ago, I had a friend who kept a fig as a houseplant, growing on the corner of the fireplace, a proper coal fire, 10ft or so from the windows. It wasn't putting out much new growth, as I recall, but the fact that it was living under such circumstances was itself remarkable.

So, figs are tough as old boots, and have both a general and a personal history. Yesterday in Asda I bought a packet of dried figs (Produce of Turkey, yet more personal history), and this morning cut one open, excavated the seeds out, separating them from the pulp (footery), and then leaving them in cooling warm water for an hour or so. They've sunk to the bottom of the glass, so are probably viable. Maybe 100+ seeds. I'll sow them later today on the surface of a tray of vermiculite covered in clingfilm, to maintain a warm, damp micro-climate; no compost - to avoid damping-off and other mouldy hazards.

Meanwhile, no sign of any roses germinating, apparently after 3 weeks...