How I Got Over the January Doldrums

Last weekend I took a road trip down to visit a sister and introduce her to Just Fruit and Exotics. It helped at least temporarily to switch my focus from waiting to lose most of my fruit this year when it blooms too early to looking forward to the ones that love my long summers but not so much my winter.

We took a route that is mostly 2 lane highways instead of freeways. It’s only a 6 1/2 hr trip that way, and much more relaxing and enjoyable than interstate routes. We saw Georgia in a way we’ve never seen it before. Mile after mile after mile of alternating cotton fields, pecan plantations, and pines for forestry industry, interspersed with small city-towns. All that started just over an hour from home and continued until close to the FL border. I never realized there were that many pecans grown in GA!

We had an enjoyable time browsing at JF&E. Even if I did purchase only about half of what I had on my list because a sedan can only carry so much and the plants were not small, I still wound up getting a few that I hadn’t planned.

Probably the most important tree was an Oconee pecan because we needed a type I. Then a Christmas loquat that should ripen earlier than my other. A Mammoth feijoa (pineapple guava) because we need some cross pollination. I picked up a very nice RJ Hovey papaya that’s already taller than I, and managed to transport it without breakage. Now if it an manage to hang in there and stay in decent shape without outgrowing my grow tent before acceptable weather arrives, it might do well. In which case, it’s going to be interesting watching it grow.

I also bought an ice cream banana. I’m a bit befuddled about this. I know most ‘ice cream’ isn’t. They had a stalk of harvested ice cream bananas on display at their fruit sampling area. With their pale powdery coating those certainly looked to me like pics and descriptions I’ve seen. However the pre-printed tag on them says Musa manzano beneath Ice Cream. I’m likely to never actually harvest any, and we do like apple bananas, but it’s always nice to be sure I’m actually growing what I think I’m growing.

I bought a Xie-Shan, Ponkan, and a couple of Cara-caras. Unplanned purchases were a Sweet Bay and a Professor Sargent camelia japonica. It has gorgeous flowers. We have many sasanqua, but no japonica. This helps fill in a gap in the flowering bushes.

There was no room for the apples, peaches, and olives that I would have liked, but I can always “visit my sister” in the future.
Even though JF&E supplied phyto certificates to show at ag check points, we stopped at my sisters and gave everything except the papaya a dose of systemics.

My Someone was not happily surprised by the carload when asked to help bring stuff in when we arrived home at nightfall, but in the morning was found admiring the camelia, eagerly anticipating fresh papaya, and wondering when the leaves on the young Bay could be used.

The short trip revitalized my spirit enough to carry me through a little longer during this period of winter, and now has me looking forward in some ways to summer, the other rather rough season here.


Are you an author by profession? Love your prose.

Glad your Someone came around quickly :grinning: Mine usually does.

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Great story, Muddy. Thanks for sharing.

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Sounds like a truly excellent time. Loved the backroads description of Georgia! Next time you go can me and my wife fly in to go too? :slight_smile:

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Diana, You’re going to get revitalized a lot more, when you come to
pick up your roses and apple trees that are awaiting your shovel. LOL
Bring some help, you’re going to need it.


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What I do in January is read fruit books and fruit catalogs. All those wonderful pictures and descriptions puts spring in my head. I also start seeds of something or other, not because I need the product but because I need to see those little heads poke up. I am trying to sprout kiwi seeds now (no luck so far).

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Muddy’s trip sounds glorious. I would love to just visit the nursery that sold those fruits and nuts! Like Scott I read a lot about the fruit I have and love antiquated books on stone and pome fruits. The internet is a god-send as you can go to any country to see how they grow fruit. I do this every day. It is also seed catalogue time. My orders are all in and my husband just shakes his head every time a new box or envelope arrives with seeds. Am looking into ordering new raised beds now. The time goes quickly. And. . . seeing the photographs of ‘bud break’ is very exciting.

Do you keep these in pots? I see lots of loquat around but never any fruit, always something I wanted to try because of early season fruit, but don’t need anything else I have to protect.

I had one in ground but never got fruit, I know someone in Charleston that does well with his. I want to give Veinte Cohol a try because it’s supposed to bloom very early, but I am still in a marginal area.

I jog all winter. Every day unless its raining or subzero (i switch to the bike in the summer). I use to get depressed around this time of year but the past 3 or 4 years since i started running i haven’t had one issue with depression. My wife also works out 6 days a week.

Winter isn’t over…all signs that i’m seeing point to a nice shot of arctic air in early Feb.

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Muddy, I’m glad you could have some fun looking at all the pretties! I hope you get some good harvests from those exotic fruit trees! If you can get it to fruit, I think you’ll be very pleased with your Ice Cream banana! It’s my favorite variety next to Apple!
I’m usually away on the mainland for business reasons during much of the winter. I really just enjoy browsing through various nurseries, but I end up finding things I can’t live without! lol I’ll even look through the nurseries on the mainland while I’m there…though it makes me sad I can’t buy anything!

Good for both of you!! Exercise in any form is about the best thing you can do for yourself. And if you feel better so will the rest of the family.


Enjoy that fantastic Hawaiian climate! I’ve visited the islands 3 separate times-- paradise on Earth.

Muddy, I visited Just Fruits and Exotics back in July when we were vacationing in Florida. We were staying about an hour away from the nursery. I was very impressed. Everything was well cared for, and the guy who assisted me was very helpful. The best thing about visiting in person is that everything is cheaper than ordering online. Good thing we had taken our smaller vehicle rather than my truck, or I would have bought a lot more!

Hey, thanks Matt!
It’s a great place for sure! But of course, it all comes with its own sets of boundaries and problems! For instance…while I’m not plagued by fire ants like most residents, there are Chinese rose beetles, melon flies, pickle worms, fungal problems, root knot nematodes, etc.
Enjoy the unique place you have though! I would love to grow apricots (one of my favorite fruits of all), but all of the varieties I’ve tried have struggled to even survive. I would love the chance to try a tree-ripened apricot of any cultivar, but alas, it probably won’t be in Hawaii! If only I could spend a summer on the mainland! ^^

If you ever come to the Big Island again, let me know!

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Muddy, what a wonderful day. I would love to see backwoods Georgia as you describe.

Sounds like some great trees, too!

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