Figs are the perfect additions to most any landscape, yielding tasty fruit as well as sculpted shade trees.
Enjoying the flavor of a freshly picked fig in the shade of the tree's canopy is a truly Southern tradition. Thomas Jefferson claimed in his retirement to want only to sit beneath a fig tree with his books and watch the days pass by. Luckily, he did a lot more than this. Jefferson not only spread the popularity of the fig from Europe but also expanded the area where the tree is grown.
What's So Great About a Fig?
The true flavor of a fig can only be appreciated by biting into the fresh fruit. Regardless of whether you like the classic "Brown Turkey" or the smaller purple or green-and-white types, you'll be impressed at how much fruit a single tree can produce. In most areas, figs will yield a small early harvest on the previous year's growth as well as a later, bigger harvest on the new summer growth.
Though eating fresh figs is a great way to spend summer days, the fruit is also perfect for eating throughout the year. In fact, there's no better reminder of summer on a cold day than a stash of fig preserves. For another delicious way to use figs, see "No-Cook Homemade Ice Cream" on page 74 of the August issue of Southern Living.
Figs make beautiful patterns when espaliered against a house.