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Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow

HOMEGROWN GOODIES: A passionfruit (main picture) growing over an arbour is heavy with juicy fruit; lemon myrtle (inset, above) is a pretty and productive tree. Use the leaves for tea; and a rose apple (left) can grow into a very large tree with attractive red and green leaves and fruit.
HOMEGROWN GOODIES: A passionfruit (main picture) growing over an arbour is heavy with juicy fruit; lemon myrtle (inset, above) is a pretty and productive tree. Use the leaves for tea; and a rose apple (left) can grow into a very large tree with attractive red and green leaves and fruit.

I'M NOT expecting a white Christmas. After all, I'll be in Northern Rivers heat and and humidity.

But I am looking forward to juicy, delicious passionfruit from my vine, gathered after they drop like mini snowballs on to the grass next to my outdoor path.

Then there are Tahitian limes almost ready to go, too, plus some piquant lemons, pears that are ripening and fruit on what I am tempted to put in the Guinness Book of Records as Australia's largest rose apple tree.

I'll be cutting lemongrass to use in Thai dishes when I am tired of turkey and ham, and lemon myrtle leaves to brew a medicinal and calming tea. So far, I'm still waiting for my feijoa to fruit so I can make the sticky jam I remember from my childhood.

Lemon myrtle is a pretty and productive tree. Use the leaves for tea.
Lemon myrtle is a pretty and productive tree. Use the leaves for tea.

While ornamental plants are wonderful, and add colour and perfume to any garden, I have always been a big fan of plants and trees that earn their keep.

And to anyone who thinks they can't compete with a rose or a hibiscus, ask any edible plant-favouring gardener about the thrill of fragrant lemon buds, the tiny fruit that emerge and grow, and the early morning inspections to see when they are ready to pick.

Of course, fruit trees involve maintenance - keeping citrus bug off my lemons and limes is a challenge and everything needs to be fed regularly with fertiliser, and watered, to keep the roots and the fruit in good health.

A rose apple can grow into a very large tree with attractive red and green leaves and fruit.
A rose apple can grow into a very large tree with attractive red and green leaves and fruit. rockyoubaby

But, come harvest time, what's better than skiting that you grew it yourself?

So, even if you're very attached to your rose bushes, azaleas or orchids, consider planting a fruit tree - especially a native - or a few herbs.

As we move increasingly towards chemical-free produce, seasonally enjoyed, you will be well ahead of the trend.

If you would like your garden featured on the Grow It page in The Northern Star, contact helen.hawkes@northernstar.com.au

Topics:  christmas 2016 gardening grow it helen hawkes northern rivers gardening recipes



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