We have a rare fruit expert that works at the nursery on Saturdays. His name is Dennis and here are a few snaps of his autumn garden following on from the summer, spring and winter blogs.
It is amazing what you can grow successfully in a suburban garden in Melbourne despite the hot and dry weather we have had this summer and autumn stressing both plants and people. As I write this after a dry summer and autumn I had over 100 mm dumped over night here on May 31 / June 1!!!!!
The first stop is the tamarillo which was the feature in the winter blog. The final crop last winter was over 200 fruits from the one tree and this year the crop is going to be the a bit smaller around 150 but the fruit larger due to a heavy spring pruning as the fruit can become smaller the weaker the branches are and the further out the fruit are hanging. They are colouring up nicely from green to red now before hanging in the tree like Christmas decorations. I have a new tamarillo recipe book to use the crop in many ways.
The espaliered ‘Fuyu’ persimmon tree has held on to a good crop of fruit and they have just been picked. This is such a great tree for the home garden as the leaves colour up beautifully every year and are more reliable than Japanese maples in this way. Also no codling moth or other nasties to deal with. But be patient as it is not a fast grower.
The white sapote are nearly there although late this year so how do you tell they are getting ripe? You could ask the same thing about avocados too? With white sapotes a shine develops on the fruit which means it is ready to pick and bring inside where it will soften after a week.
The macadamias are progressing as expected and now about pea size. They mature much later down here than in northern NSW / south east QLD but my opinion is the longer time allows for slower oil and sugar accumulation so the nuts taste better when grown here!!!!!
The Feijoas have finally started to fall this year as it is usually early May and do not need to be picked – too easy. Being hard they do not bruise but when taken inside soften up to be eaten with a spoon. Make sure you buy a grafted tree of a ‘named’ variety like ‘Mammoth’, ‘White Goose’ etc which will reward you with large egg shaped fruit in two to three years time unlike seeding trees which take much longer and may not produce good fruit.
I love the dwarf ‘Japanese Seedless’ and ‘Satuma Okitsuwase Seedless’ mandarins I have growing in 300 mm pots. Have been eating them for over a month now and the flavour is so much superior to an ‘Imperial’ mandarin from the shops. More importantly even in a pot dwarf trees produce full sized fruits. Others dwarfs I have in similar sized pots include ‘Eureka Lemon’, ‘Meyer’ lemon’, ‘Tahitian’ lime, kumquat etc. which are all starting to colour up.
It is late May and the stone fruit ‘Mariposa Plum’ and interspecific hybrids have not lost their leaves yet and are totally green. I need to force dormancy by removing the leaves now otherwise in
my opinion spring flowering will be affected.
Finally I will be experimenting with my sub-tropical tree ‘pod’ this winter and putting my potted sub-tropical trees in close proximity for mutual shelter. These include: mango (indoors last winter but see how it goes this year outside but may need to bring indoors again), avocados, acerola cherry, coffee, curry leaf tree etc. The idea is on nights expected to drop below 5 c to create a tent which will cover the trees and drain the cold air away. I will let you know how I get on in spring. More importantly if heavy rain is expected in the cold months is to cover the potting mix in the pots with plastic to avoid water-logging.
Gardenworld currently has good stocks of many sub-tropical and exotic fruit trees so come in and see what is available or speak to Dennis on Saturday’s for further information on which may be suitable for your garden.