The proverbial, perfect garden, is said to have been the garden of eden. That garden was full of every fruit tree and edible plant in existence. People could survive, without toil, by simply plucking the ripe fruits provided by nature. Nowadays, gardens are full of “ornamental” plants chosen for their beauty, and often, lack of fruit production.
So what happened? When did delicious, beautiful, life-giving fruit become a nuisance that should be excluded from our homes? What’s more ornamental than clouds of flowers and colorful fruit? If you’re looking for an ornamental tree to add to your landscape, you’ll find that a fruit tree can give you everything you want, and even offer a bonus.
The Right Look
Nearly all fruit trees have brightly colored, showy blooms that cover their branches each year. Apples and peaches are pink. Plums, pears, and mayhaws, are white. Pomegranates are orange. Fruit trees deserve to be planted front and center for their bloom power, if nothing else.
The Right Size
Most fruit trees grow around 12-15 feet, just the right size for urban plantings. Fruit trees respond very well to pruning so they can be safely trimmed to control shape and size over time if they get too big.
Flowers get lots of attention, but fruit is highly ornamental. A tree full of yellow lemons or red apples is simply gorgeous. In my experience, a tree full of fruit turns even more heads than one full of flowers.
Save the Bees
Fruit tree blooms are fantastic food for pollinators.
Feed a Furry Friend
Local wildlife is always happy to eat fruit that falls to the ground. I’ve never had to cleanup unripe fruits because they just disappear overnight at my house. Thanks raccoons!
When growing fruit trees at home, I like to consider this a bonus. No matter what happens, you’ll have a lovely tree that adds beauty to your home while providing food for insects and other animals. However, harvesting ripe fruit for yourself is not a guarantee. A whole lot of work and expertise goes into growing the fruit you see in the grocery store. Most trees need to be in the right soil, with the right conditions, the right weather, and just the right care to yield big bounties of mature fruit. Some years you may get nothing, but other years you’ll end up with more than you know what to do with. Grow fruit trees for all their other great qualities, and food for your table can be a nice bonus when it happens.
Sure, fruit trees look great in an orchard, but they can also look amazing on the corner of your house or planted along your driveway. Plant a fruit tree today, and see a little bit of eden tomorrow.
*This article was written by Jonathan Burns (Tallahassee Nurseries Outdoor Manager, FNGLA Florida Certified Horticulture Professional) using years of personal observations growing in the Tallahassee area.