Wednesday, December 11, 2013


 The apricots at the top of our tree are starting to blush – the color of a setting sun. We and our tortoise, Speedy Gonzalez, will soon be biting into their juicy sweetness. I worry about our apricot tree. It was in the garden when we bought our house over twenty-five years ago and has become very fragile. Last year several large branches crashed to the ground under the weight of the fruit. One of the two remaining main branches went dry. I called in an expert and began fertilizing the tree as instructed. Only time will tell.

Although ours is a small, walled city garden, it requires constant attention. My trees and plants are like my pets, living things for which I am responsible. I've begun fertilizing the old lemon tree which bears fruit year round. When the leaves on my California sequoia began turning brown, I panicked.  I could not lose my beloved redwood, my companion on this expat journey, and called in three experts. The first diagnosis: fungus. The second expert was unsure and called in a third. What a relief to learn that it was the common scales insect which had been transmitted by the infected ivy on the walls. I was happy to learn of the location of a supplier of non-toxic, organic pesticides. Our garden must be welcoming to bees, birds, butterflies and ladybugs. No poisons in MY garden! The sequoia is looking happier, waving its new green tips in the breeze.

In the opposite corner of our garden from the sequoia is an enormous avocado tree, grown from a pit planted by my youngest son decades ago. We just had it trimmed to make its fruit more accessible. From the trimmed branches alone we harvested one hundred beautiful avocados. It began bearing fruit some years ago as a result of an experiment. I’d always heard avocado trees need another one nearby. When it was flowering, my son and I brought some flowers from a neighbor’s tree. We rubbed the neighbor’s flowers against our tree’s blooms, as if they were kissing. The following year…viola!…avocados, big ones. Was it our experiment or a friendly bee? I should Google the information before I take the credit, but then I might spoil a good story.

Come to think of it, my sequoia and several more of my garden inhabitants possess good stories. I can envision a small book, “Stories from My Garden”.





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