Driving through the Seattle Area's Rainier Valley you can find as many as 20 giant fig trees within a square mile. Vince, my brother, works in the area has a guided tour. =). Many of these trees were brought over by Greek and Italian immigrants many decades ago. This area was formerly known as Garlic Gulch.
Now a days most of these trees still exist and some grow completely unattended. The originally owners have long moved or died and the Rainier Valley has evolved to be one of the most diverse areas in Seattle. It is also unfortunately one of the poorest. The new inhabitants, mostly renters leave the trees to grow wild and uncared for.
For enthusiasts such as my myself, it's exciting to discover how many great varieties are growing here in Seattle. Some maybe desert king but a majority of the large trees that look to be 30+ yrs old were brought over originally from Europe. Who knows, there might be a new variety lurking out there that hasn't been identified as of yet. Much like the Olympian fig which was only recently discovered here in Washington.
And because they've existed so long here in Seattle, it's guaranteed that the trees have proven to do well in the Seattle climate without any protection.
However, with many homes going through renovations or complete demolitions many of these great trees are being torn down as well. With permission from the home owners, My brother and I have made it a small mission to help save and spread the lineage of these figs before they disappear.
It's a bit of work to knock on every door and ask for permission for cuttings and to learn about their personal knowledge about the tree but it's very gratifying to learn about each tree's history.
Here's a small sampling of our July 4th harvest. I have no clue what these varieties are so I've come up with labels for them to remember where they came from. It's a nice feeling to grow a small piece of Seattle history in our backyard.