My great-grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Sicily in the late 1800s – the emigration grant from King Umberto of Italy is in the family archives, a very neat document. If there’s one thing about folks who immigrated from the Old World, especially those from around the Mediterranean, they loved their traditions and that included foods. Another thing they all seemed to have was a fig tree in the yard. Edible fig, Ficus carica, is native to the Middle East and Asia. It’s been cultivated since Biblical times. I never knew anyone in the family who didn’t have a fig tree in the yard. And so my mother had a few in her yard, which produced bountifully each year. She made preserves and fig cakes every year – I can still taste them.
My mother died in 2014 at the age of 91. A few years prior, she’d given me permission to dig up one of her smaller fig trees – and I jumped at the chance. I love family traditions, and this is one I couldn’t not continue. So I planted my fig tree dutifully and it grew large and fruitful. A few years ago I started some cuttings in order to make bonsai from them. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but never quite got around to.
Today I decided to pot a couple of these specimens. This first one has some nice branching already, and should make a typical broom-form style bonsai as it develops. The leaves, which are quite large in nature, reduce surprisingly well in a bonsai pot. This one already has a head-start on leaf-size reduction. The pot is a beautiful round by Chuck Iker, which I think complements the bright green leaf color nicely.
If you’d like some Old World charm in a bonsai, I’ve posted this specimen for sale at our new Ficus Bonsai sale page.
Oh, edible fig does fruit in a container, by the way.
This next specimen is not quite as far along as the one above, but it’ll catch up in the 2017 growing season. Both trees are of similar height, so you can see that this one has the large leaves normal to edible fig. But that will change next year.
This specimen is also in a nice Chuck Iker round. It’ll go up for sale in a couple of weeks.