BILOWZ ASSOCIATES INC. is an award winning landscape architectural design firm with a proven philosophy: "Creating Design with Harmony & Balance."
Our company blog, Annie's Gardening Corner, takes a sneak peek at how we balance our own love for everything green + a place to find inspiration, garden ideas and landscape design tips.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Create a Timeless Garden

Elizabeth David once said, "To eat figs off the tree in the very early morning, when they have been barely touched by the sun, is one of the exquisite pleasures of the Mediterranean." If you can’t live in the Mediterranean’s temperate climate, it may be worth creating a piece of it in your own garden. At one point, it was fairly common for families to grow figs on their property. Although the hardiness of figs is more suitable to zone 7 temperatures, gardeners grow these plants in zone 4 and even zone 3. Not without effort, of course.

Fresh figs are a wonderful experience. It is the reason people invest time and effort in this plant. Here are a few growing tips passed on from friends and associates.

The ideal fig to grow is a Mission Fig (the dark black figs sometimes available fresh in specialty stores.) Its flavor seems to trump all other varieties. There is a dwarf variety called ‘Black Jack’, which is similar to a Mission fig. It only grows to 6’; a good choice for a tight spot. The best way to grow figs in this area is planted in an 18-24 gallon container. Figs like the heat, so place them in your warmest location. In late fall, when the temps begin to drop to the 40's, bring the containers into a garage, basement or a greenhouse. Maintain a little moisture in the soil. Note, if exposed to cold weather (30’s), they drop their leaves and go fully dormant. Figs are not hardy to New England winters so you must protect the plants. In the spring, when the threat of frost has passed, bring them back outside, slowly acclimating them to the weather as you would any indoor plant. Once established, figs are tough to kill. There are other methods to overwinter figs but this is the easiest and does not require a backhoe. There are some great resources to find bare root stock (figs and other amazing plants): or by calling 866-586-6283 or by calling 800-325-4180 or by calling 800-391-8892

In case you don’t have plans this weekend, you can catch the Rhode Island Flower Show, ‘Timeless Gardens’. For more information, check out the web site, for pricing and events or call 401-272-0980. It runs from Feb. 18th through Feb. 21st. The show is held at Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence, RI.

The inspirational thought for the weekend is an American Proverb. “It doesn’t work to leap a twenty-foot chasm in two ten-foot jumps.” Ouch. That could leave a mark. In other words, don’t take on too many chores this weekend. Enjoy!

(Image of figs from Internet)

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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)