For many of us the gardening season is coming to a close. Southern gardeners have the luxury of gardening twelve months of the year but in Northern gardens we have to resolve ourselves to arm chair gardening for a few months. Once the ground is covered with snow there is little we can do, except for our late winter pruning of trees and shrubs and early spring indoor seeding.
I thought it might be fun to dream a little and share a bit of fantasy gardening. It’s always interesting to learn about plants we cannot grow, visit gardens from around the world and in general drool over what we dream of and hope to achieve. I’m hoping others will dream along with me and share their comments on fantasy gardening with everyone.
I would love to grow an avocado tree. I consider myself fortunate to live in an area which grows many hard and soft fruits, berries and grapes, but growing avocados and being able to walk out the kitchen door and pick a fresh avocado off the tree would be very special.
Persea americana is the Latin name for the avocado tree. Native to Central Mexico it is sometimes called an avocado pear because of it’s shape or alligator pear due to the rough skin. Avocados have been cultivated in Central and South America for a very long time, and have been introduced to Jamaica, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Southern Europe and the southern United States.
The avocado tree is a large tree growing to 66 feet tall. Greenish-yellow flowers are very small but the pear shaped fruit is large with an equally large central seed. They grow in subtropical climates and cannot tolerate any frost or high winds. Even the lightest frost causes premature fruit to drop. They also require extremely thick, rich, well-aerated soil. This is pretty much everything I don’t have!
As a commercial crop they are very successful since the fruit matures on the tree but ripens off the tree. Although they must be mature to ripen, avocados store and ship beautifully. Commercial growers propagate by grafting or layering to insure the duplication of quality varieties. Avocados can be grown from seed (you can even try this at home), but will take about 4 to 6 years to bear fruit.
Avocados are very healthy as there are many nutrients in avaocado. loaded with monounsaturated fat, potassium, B,E and Vitamin K as well as fibre. They are smooth, rich with a distinct but subtle flavor. Great to use in salads, sandwiches, soups, dips, milkshakes and anything else you can think of. The health benefits of avocados are many and they are so delicious.