My kitchen counter is filled with slightly unusual fruit this morning. While persimmons and Meyer lemons are common and popular here, they aren’t as familiar or easy to come by in other parts of the country. I had never even heard of a Pineapple Guava, also known as Feijoa, before we bought this house and noticed the egg-shaped fruit dropping like crazy from the two large tree-like shrubs bordering our courtyard. I have a feeling that many of you haven’t heard of or tasted a pineapple guava either. You should, they’re delicious! The persimmons aren’t actually from my yard – my cousin Cristin has a tree and delivered a bag full of them. I just thought I’d highlight some of what’s currently ripening in the backyards of Central Californians right now.
We’ve been living in this house for close to 10 months now and we have really enjoyed seeing what surprises our mature backyard has to offer with each new season. In the early spring, we had two big patches of Lady Jane tulips pop up followed by a surprise (huge) lilac that had been somewhat hidden behind and inside a huge Myrtle.
Spring through summer brought us lots and lots of flowers – our gorgeous tulip tree, several varieties of roses including a monstrous Cecile Brunner outside our bedroom window that is probably as old (and nearly as big) as this house.
We have a big glossy camellia next to the tulip tree in the courtyard that fills with blooms, bottle brush buzzing with hummingbirds and bees, and a wonderful old Rose of Sharon with a seemingly endless supply of purple blooms that fall each night and regenerate each morning. There are more I’m forgetting and then there are the things we’ve added ourselves (mostly gifts from my family): gardenias, azaleas, hydrangeas, lilies, another lilac, lavender, and several different annuals that are mostly still blooming thanks to the California sun.
We learned over the summer that vegetables will grow well just about anywhere we stick them in the ground and we had towering tomato and cucumber plants of several varieties, a watermelon patch, crookneck squash, zucchini, hot peppers, sweet peppers, eggplant, and more.
The end of summer brought us more vegetables than we could handle as well as a good crop of black mission figs.
And now it’s Fall, which is announced in our backyard with bright yellow lemons and the repetitive thud of Pineapple Guavas (aka Feijoas) hitting the ground.
Our Autumn harvest will also eventually include olives, although the tree my Dad planted for me over the summer is so tiny that this year’s harvest will only be about ten olives. Hey, it’s a start!
Soon winter will be here and our big tangerine tree in the back will add to our citrus bounty.
Winter will also bring oranges, grapefruit, and sweet limes from neighbors and family. Someday I hope to have our own blood oranges and limes growing in the yard. But we have plenty to keep us busy and well fed for now!
So tell me, where do you live and what’s being harvested in your neck of the woods?