The Orchard of Tai Lao

This week I’m in the greater LA area visiting my Chinese grandmother-in-law. She was my first real encounter with fruit growing in general and persimmons in particular. On this 1/10th of an acre, she’s got all kinds of fruit growing, and I got permission to give you all a small tour.

First, and most importantly, persimmons!

In the back and in the side:

(Yes, a lot of those trees were planted in holes drilled into the concrete, which seems to have worked.)

Pomegranates are also in season now.

She must really like dragon fruit, because they get by far the most yard space, and are grown up on every available space.

Let’s not forget the other cactus fruit: prickly pear.

Jujube trees, and an easy way to dehydrate them:

Looking over the fence, the neighbor has some citrus growing:

Tai Lao’s citrus tastes are a little more exotic. There are several Buddha hands growing, and a large pomelo tree, in addition to the usual lemons.

Prefer vines? There are grapes, and I think I just noticed a passion fruit vine!

Here’s what I’m pretty sure is a black mulberry. I may need to schedule the next visit to coincide with mulberry season, although I’m told the squirrels steal most of them. (Note that this tree doubles as a trellis for even more dragon fruit.)

Just because you’re in your 80s doesn’t mean you need to stop buying new trees, like this guava:

I don’t know what this is, but I assume it has fruit at some point in the year. It smelled nice, and the bees were working it.

One final picture of (some of) the haul:


Wow what a diverse garden with fruit I would definitely consider exotic! But she’s a great role model in that she makes the best use of her space, grows exactly what she wants, and has fruit trees as a life-long passion.

If she is still active and tending her fruit trees now, in her 80s, I have no doubt she’ll get to taste those guavas, maybe several seasons of them, so why not plant? :grinning:

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The second to the last picture is a Loquat tree. Very cool tour BTW!

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A fine-looking tree, even w/o fruit

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Love, love, love!


And now I’m sipping homemade mulberry leaf tea. It’s pretty good. Now I have another use for my trees at home.

What a horticultural bad-ass your Grandmother-in-Law is!


Thanks for sharing your pics. Inspirational!

Beautiful. Is she drying jujubes on the heat pump condenser?

Amazing, and on a 1/10th of an acre no less…makes me feel like a slacker for not doing more on my land…

Yes, I’ve also seen her dry them by just laying them all out on a tray. But the climate us generally hot and dry around here, so ymmv.

A friend came by and dropped off some late season guavas. I think they smell better than they taste, although the bits near the seeds were much sweeter.

Growing fruit seems to be a common thing in the local immigrant community. In the past, I’ve even been treated to fresh lychees.