Lynne and Bill Linder’s fig tree was already well established when they moved into their home in 1969, and its branches now reach as high as the roof of their garage. Lynne imagines that the tree was planted soon after the house was originally constructed in 1918 by the first homeowners, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Gibbes. The Gibbes family lived in the home for 50 years, and Lynne and Bill have been in the home for almost 50 years as well, making the fig tree nearly 100 years old.
Fig trees thrive in well-drained, fertile soil with lots of organic matter, and it’s best if a fig tree is planted in a sunny, warm location. If you plant multiple fig trees in your garden, you should spread them out by at least 10 feet. As figs grow, they turn from green to the rosy brown color shown in this photograph taken by Robert Clark, and they are typically harvested in July. Figs are ready to be picked when they soften and change color completely to a rich plum. The window to harvest figs is rather small, lasting between one to two weeks.
The lower branches of the Linder family’s fig tree are harvested by friends and neighbors, and the higher branches are harvested by the birds and squirrels that call the Linder garden their home. Lynne says that she enjoys gathering handfuls of the figs for breakfast. However, the fig tree provides even more to the Linders than delicious snack options. “Our children have played in its branches while neighbors and friends come to pick,” says Lynne of the fig tree. “This fine fig tree is the very hub of our garden.”