Mixed among the classic English gardens favorites–roses, gardenias, lavender and rosemary–the Richmond suburbs have an abundance of fruiting trees:  heaps of lemons and limes, but also apples, olives, figs, apricots, tangerines, and yes, even pomegranate.  

And I’m not talking about the greater Richmond area here, these are the trees I’ve spotted in a 4 block radius around our house.  These tasty trees have peaked at different times of the season and offer an eyeful to the watchful dog walker (and mouthful to the homeowners I’m sure!)  As we transition into fall, sweet yellow-skinned figs and rotund green olive fruit are the main morsels dangling from the stems of the trees, so this splash of red in the afternoon sun caught my eye.

But, while these urban gardens are a beautiful addition to the sidewalks, they are also, a public nuisance.  Like the apricot tree whose owners have a “not-on-my-side-of-the-fence” mentality and don’t pick up the rotting fruit that collects on the sidewalks for two weeks in December, the stench of which hits you when you round the corner as it mixes with the hot breeze.  Or the birds that inhabit the neighborhood to feast on the tasty fruit, and announce their presence at 4am with a cacophony of squawks, squeaks, and squeals.  Or the down right menace to society that is the combination of birds + rotting sidewalk fruit, which I have the battered hand, scraped spine and 4-inch diameter bruise on hip as proof of.

On Friday, Steve had to “put in a few extra hours” with the guys at work (aka, happy hour).  Scrambling home at 8pm to a very anxious and pent-up little dachshund, Bentley tore off in a near-sprint down the sidewalk with me in tow, clicking in my high heels I hadn’t had time to change out of, and towards the nearest patch of green 2 blocks down.  We approached the corner, which is covered overhead by a large fig tree that spreads out from the neighbor’s front yard into and over the streetcorner, and Bentley lunged into the “bathroom”.  These antics startled a bird roosting in the lower limbs of the fig, causing it to fly directly into my face at the precise moment my heel came clicking down into a fallen fig fruit.  Fast forward 5-7 seconds later, I am dizzily looking up from the square of my back, trying to remember what happened, while a very confused dachshund at the end of a red rope stares back. 

Fruit trees = public enemy number 1.