Somewhere along the line I was brainwashed into thinking there was a list of certain plants I could grow.
Frustratingly, that list included things I can’t grow: European pears, sweet cherries, and most stone fruits; at least not without a lot of fuss and spraying and disappointment.
However, over the years as I’ve whittled down that list of ‘should-be-able-to-grows’, I’ve created a new list of ‘plants-I-didn’t-know-I-could-grow’. This list contained plants that fell into one of two categories: “exotics” that seemed out of the question and “old-timey,” local, overlooked or forgotten plants.
Today, because it’s started to bloom for the first time in three years, I want to talk about my pomegranate trees/shrubs.
While it may be premature to call it a success since I only have blooms, not fruit (yet), I’ve really enjoyed watching this plant grow.
I started thinking about growing pomegranate when I read it requires winter chill hours in order to be productive, and appreciates hot summers as well. Since we have both, and seldom experience temperatures below 12 deg. F (the temperature below which they can be severely damaged) our climate here in zone 7b seemed well-suited for pomegranate to thrive.
I planted three of them on the south-facing side of a brick wall to provide them with extra freeze protection and watched them grow.
I surrounded them, permaculture-guild fashion, with daffodils, chives, and echinacea for their pollinator-attractant and vole deterrent qualities.
As luck would have it, its first two winters were particularly brutal (for us) with temps uncharacteristically falling repeatedly in the teens. One plant, the largest of the three, died back to the crown, but regrew from the roots.
It’s that plant that’s flowering this year. When I first saw the little bloom buds I thought they were baby pomegranates. They look just like what I imagine a baby pom would be.
But in a week or so, one of these “babies” began to open and reveal a tightly gathered skirt of bright red, crepe-like petals.
The next day, it bloomed.
For those of you who are familiar with pomegranates, it may seem unremarkable, but I’d never before seen one.
It was an exciting event, this first glimpse of the fabled blossoms of this iconic plant, the star of ancient mythology.
You may remember the story of how Persephone was tricked into eating six (the number varies) seeds of the pomegranate, condemning her to six months in the underworld, causing her mother Demeter (goddess of the harvest) to mourn and visit six months of infertility on the earth.
I’ll let you know how it grows, so to speak, and I’ll surely have pics of the fruit if I am so lucky as to have some.
Have you ever grown pomegranate?