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Manatee Rare Fruit Council 20th Annual Tree Sale

16 years ago

Did anyone else go yesterday?

I only bought one item - a spineless prickly pear for $2, but I got some great ideas for the "edible landscape" that I want to create.

I saw so many things that I had never heard of before.

When I lived in New Orleans, I had a number of mature gardenias. My husband and I have always talked about wanting an edible landscape, so his take on the gardenias was "pull them out." I persuaded him to wait until after they bloomed, and he was smitten with them despite the fact that "you can't that." At the sale yesterday, I discovered "randia formosa," a gardenia cousin that bears the fragrant heritage of the gardenia as well as fruit. It's referred to as "blackberry jam" fruit. Can it get any better than that?

Then I saw assai, Euterpe oleracea, which is a palm that has a growth habit that reminds me a bit of bamboo. This bears fruit and is also the source of "hearts of palm." I'm thinking that this clumping palm will be an attractive privacy screen between my living room windows and the street while I'm waiting for my one mango tree to take off.

I haven't bought that mango tree yet. I keep hoping to find a "mango cocktail tree" but I think I'm going to have to graft my own. I have space to put one full-sized mango tree that will eventually shade my house on the east side (front of the house). Ideally, I'd like a tree that is grafted with early, mid and late season fruit because, well, you can't get too many mangos, can you? I asked a guy at Jene's Tropicals in St Pete about this a couple of years ago. He seemed to think that it was a good idea, but he didn't know about anyone grafting mangos like that.

I'm totally off track now, but it's because I'm so excited to finally be ready to plant things. Since we moved in 5 years ago, all I've done is take things out I don't want. There were five Norfolk Island pines that I towered over my house and decorated my dog every time he went outside. I had those removed early on. We thought that we were going to make major changes to the footprint of the house, so I resisted the desire to plant things that would be brutalized in the construction process. Then we downscaled our plans and I waited to landscape until the new roof went on (last fall). Then I waited until the paintin was done (March) then I waited until the new windows and doors wnet on (last week!). Now I think I can dig and plant!


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