Saturday, December 20, 2014

Persimmon Bliss!

Behold my favorite of the winter fruits!  Persimmons!

For years I grew Asian Persimmons (Diospyros kaki). 'Fuyu' was my particular favorite, crispy and sweet - no waiting around for frosts to soften both the texture and the astringency of the skin.  I loved them, still do but we lost our trees, split in storms when fully laden with fruit.

I'm not good at thinning. There, I've admitted it. Mind you, I took hundreds of green persimmons off those Fuyu trees. But there were hundreds more. As they ripened... I watched the branches bend and I knew those fruits should go, go, go.... but - dang! - I wanted those persimmons. So, when the storms hit the tree cracked and split. My just reward.

Phooey.

Meanwhile, back at the back of the ranch, my small grove of native persimmons (Diospyros virginiana) was growing quickly.


They started out as seedlings the size of chopsticks. Too small to sell when we closed our nursery. Now, six years later, they are over my head.

Take a tip: There is nothing in gardening as satisfying as growing a tree. Especially a successful fruit tree. Each becomes a pillar of the garden, an anchor in the landscape, more than one gardener's mortality - an inheritance for times to come.

This year, I have "more than enough" small, sweet native persimmons.  I even offered to share. (Okay, maybe not very loudly.)

And another experiment is in the works.  At the same time, I planted my own seedlings that are crosses of D. kaki and D. virginiana.  So far, no fruits. It will be interesting to see what shows up. Will they be smaller or larger? Astringent or sweet?  Alas, by the time these trees fruit, it will likely be up to the new owners of this farm to decide their merits.

As I said, trees go beyond the original gardener - they are an inheritance passed on to future landowners, hopefully gardeners themselves.

“Too old to plant trees for my own gratification, I shall do it for my posterity.”

― Thomas Jefferson




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