Today, that mango tree is a mere skeleton of its former self.
Weep not, however, as we have a cunning plan!
The huge mango-tree-that-was overshadowed much of the back yard, and with little benefit as we’ve not seen a single mango on it in the year+ that we’ve owned the house. It cost us a fortune to have it trimmed last November, and it was already back to its previous size.
Turns out that Steve’s massage therapist Pete (yes, Steve found an excellent chap who’s managing to keep Steve’s poor old damaged body ticking over with regular deep tissue massage) is something of a horticulturist/landscape gardener in his spare time. An odd combo perhaps, but we’re beginning to realize odd combos are pretty much the norm on this island.
Pete has another friend who’s an expert in growing different varieties of mango, and Pete has experience in grafting mangoes, to provide one tree that will fruit at different times of the year. (Heck, if we end up with mangoes of any damn type at one time of the year, we’ll be happy! Different types at different times? Clover!)
Hence our mango tree project!
Step 1: Pete (for a very reasonable fee) chain saws our existing tree to near-death.
Step 2: Steve and I haul the debris from the back yard, up a wicked slope in searing heat to the front yard, and borrow a friend’s truck to take it to the local tip. (Anything to save a few bucks on haulage!)
Step 3: We wait and watch for some new shoots to appear.
Step 4: Pete grafts new varieties to existing shoots.
Step 5: We step back, wait, and pray.
Step 6 (in theory): We harvest tons of mangoes, and have a tree that we can ourselves keep trimmed to a manageable size!
Behind the mango, in fact across the whole back border of the property, is a row of coconut palms. Steve has been ‘negotiating’ with me for months, trying to persuade me that we should have the majority of them removed to let more light into the property. The theory (there’s that word ‘theory’ again!) being that this should encourage more growth of our sickly looking citrus trees, or more precisely our pathetic, mangled citrus bushes, and also (with luck) reduce our mosquito population.
I know he’s right (of course), but I’ve been resisting the demise of so many trees, following hard on the heels of the two attractive but admittedly useless pink tacomas that were removed last year to reduce the shade on our solar panels, as well as the enormous almost-barren avocado tree that had been planted as little more than a seedling 20 years ago in a totally inappropriate location.
We had finally come to a relatively amicable agreement, to conduct a 50% coconut cull but, thankfully, my tenacious negotiations had delayed that massacre. So, thanks to me, we still have a screen at the back border while our mango tree recovers.
Once we’re assured of some growth on the mango tree, we’ll start the coconut tree project, but that could be months away. Meantime, we are enjoying plenty of our home-grown coconut juice, fresh off the trees!