Celeste Fig

Do you ever want more function in your landscape than just something nice to look at? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone and we have something for you! Say hello to the Celeste Fig tree; Also known as Ficus carica ‘Celeste’. This handy little tree grows up to 7’-10’ tall and wide in USDA plant hardiness zones 6 -9.

The typical fig producing regions have mild winters and hot, dry summers. Fortunately, even with Houston’s humid weather and frequent moisture, it’s a great area for the fig tree to grow with little to no maintenance and watering! The interesting thing about this plant is that it has large, showy leaves which is not typical of plants that are more tolerant of hot, dry environments. So, if you are looking for a bold, large texture in your landscape design, then this may be a great fit.

I have personally grown this variety as well as other fig tree varieties in full sun, part sun, and dapled shade. A majority of my yard has to stand on it’s own two feet without any care or attention from me, and this plant is a perfect fit for my busy lifestyle.

The Celeste is great alternative to the classic Brown Turkey Fig tree produces a beautiful light brown and purple fruit alongside its classic green foliage. Adding to its low maintenance previously mentioned, it is pest/disease resistant and can produce a crop with a single tree. In the Houston area during years that do not have a late spring frost, I have received 2 crops from my trees – one in early summer and one in late summer.

Want to add even more variety? Then let’s quickly talk about what some of the other fig trees can provide. While looking similar, the classic Brown Turkey Fig produces a very sweet tasting fruit while not being as rich as those produced by the Celeste. Its fruit are also slightly larger and darker. The LSU Gold Fig, for the Tiger fans out there, has an attractive light green/yellow crop with a nice sweet fig flavor. The LSU Purple Fig produces a light red fruit with a mild flavor and high sugar content.

I may be a bit biased, but where is my Maroon, White, or Gig ‘Em fig tree? Just kidding. Another option, the Banana Fig, provides a light green to near yellow fruit with banana colored spots when ripe. Even the banana phone didn’t give you these! The last fig we’ll mention is the O’Rourke Fig. It is easily be compared to the Celeste Fig as it is also referred to as the Improved Celeste, but ripens earlier. A great option for those who do not want to wait or wants their fig crops spread out through the season.

No matter what your taste may be, there are countless fig tree varieties that can add versatility to your landscape while enhancing the look.

© HDG Landscape Design, 2019

Garden Potato

Solanum tuberosum, more commonly referred to as Garden Potato, is a cool season vegetable hardy in zones 1 to 7, or most of the continental United States. Potatoes produce best when planted in early spring with warm days and cools nights. Potato is a common culinary vegetable but is often overlooked by home gardeners, which is a tragedy because home grown potatoes are much better than store bought, both in taste and texture. They do need a cool climate, so can be grown as a spring crop in warmer climate zones such as Texas. They need full sun and acidic soils for successful growing.

When planting, do not use store bought potatoes with sprouts as your seed potato because they most likely have been treated with chemicals to prevent growing. Buying certified seed potatoes to plant is the best way to go. If you can only find a larger seed potato (they are usually the size of an egg), it can be cut in half so that at least two eyes are on a single piece.  Allow them to dry for a couple days before planting eye side up in a row in your garden, one foot apart and pressed into the soil. Cover your potatoes with about four inches of soil, repeat this one or two times as the plant grows creating a growing mound. They need consistent moisture, so make sure to water your potatoes regularly when the tubers start to form. Some good varieties for Texas include ‘Kennebec’, ‘Yukon Gold’, and ‘Red Pontiac’.

Potatoes can be carefully harvested in late May or early June on a dry day. The soil should be loose so digging will be easy, and be sure not to puncture the tubers. When the vine dies out you should harvest all of the potatoes remaining to prevent rot. Store potatoes in a cool, dry, dark place and refrain from washing until right before you use them.20160522_173151

© HDG Landscape Design, 2017