Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Lucious Loquats!

It's that magical time again - the loquat trees are in bloom.


Seems odd in the fall to suddenly find the air perfumed with a sweet, sultry fragrance and to hear the frantic blur of busy bees, but that's what's happening right now in our loquat trees.

The smell is vanilla heaven.

Loquats (Eriobotrya japonica) are about on the northern edge of their range here. Although they list as Zone 9-10, they grow happily in the Zone <9 microclimate on the south side of our pool fence. As you can see from the photo, they don't need the fence to shield the top half as long as their roots can stay warm.  Our trees made it through single digits this past winter, losing some tip growth and the fruit that was forming, but all was well in the long run.

Loquats were my favorite fruit as a Florida child.  Our neighbors large, sprawling loquat tree filled with the apricot-colored fruits each year and we clambered up the tree (easy climbing!) to get them.

A year ago, almost two, I started about a dozen loquats from the seeds in the fruits from my trees. Most were given away, but one resides in a pot - hoarded against our eventual move from this farm.  I am delighted to see more and more of the local nurseries carrying loquat trees although, like mine, they seem to be grown from un-named seedlings.  I have seen named cultivars listed in New Zealand but I really don't know if we can get those here.  Bet the fruit is awesome.

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