Perhaps the most durable plant I have ever seen is the fig tree. When, growing up in Gray’s Ferry, I remember a fig tree that lived at 28th & Morris Streets. It was a great tree, it had a lot of leaves and every spring it was filled with unripe figs that were starting to develop into gustatory perfection. However, in the urban environment, the tree was growing in a space of dirt about 3 square feet in which to proliferate and bear fruit.

Despite the fact that the tree was continuously subjected to humiliations of city living, such as bus fumes, fumes from the dry-cleaners across the street and the antics of children of all ages, the tree always provided great fruit.

As a plant lover, I always thought it would be great to have a fig tree growing wherever I was living. I lived at the New Jersey Shore for a number of years and planted three Italian fig trees. They grew well and delivered fruit a few years after planting. Now I live in the suburban area outside of Wilmington, Delaware…I still want to grow a fig tree and perhaps I will find one and procure a cutting or two.

Figs in addition to being great pleasures for eating with prosciutto and melons are also one of the most ancient trees propagated by mankind. Fig trees are often mentioned in Genesis. Some biblical experts even suggest that the tree in the Garden of Eden that tempted Adam was perhaps a fig tree. If indeed anyone that has ever tasted ripe figs can appreciate the temptation of not being permitted to pick and eat these fruity delicacies.

One of these days, I intend to do to my old neighborhood and see if the fig tree that endured life in the city is still there, and get a cutting. I am going to name it ficus graysferryensius in honor of Gray’s Ferry with it’s historical ties to Bartram’s Gardens, the first botanical garden in the United States.

So if you have some cuttings of your fig tree that you want to share, just shoot me an email. I will be glad to give it a home in the First State.

Hugh J.McNichol is a Catholic author and journalist writing on Catholic topics and issues. He attended Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, where he studied both philosophy and theology. He writes frequently at & . Hugh writes about his Irish Catholic upbringing and educational experiences at . He has contributed works to Catholic News Agency, Catholic Online, The Irish Catholic, Dublin, the British Broadcasting Company, London and the Philadelphia Bulletin, Catholic Exchange,, Blogger News Network & The Catholic Business Journal, & Comments are always welcome at

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