Today the first green buds and flowers appeared on the Shatoot Mulberry
I was admiring the bare elegant tracery of the branches against a clear blue sky when I spotted the first tinge of green. This is both a blessing and a curse. It means the days are getting warmer and longer, but there are still all those garden tasks to get done before the weather really warms up.
This Mulberry is a much loved tree of Pakistan where the sickly sweet fruit is dried as a sugar substitute. It is called a yard tree and often forms the centrepiece of a small courtyard garden. The tall arching branches provide generous shade in Summer. However, It really does need a lot of space to look at its best but will take heavy pruning ,poor soils and difficult sites. In other words ,it is a great tree for spots where winter sun is required and heavy summer shade is needed where you can set up a table and chairs.
The pale yellow fruit is produced in such quantities that I usually rake it up to give to the chooks.
It is probably the only fruit tree you won't mind sharing with birds.
A pair of Red-whiskered Bulbuls, much loved by novelist Patrick White where they were a familiar site around his Centennial Park home, usually take up residence .Described accurately by Graham Pizzey as having"jaunty pleasant liquid notes"
My favourite bird visitor to this tree is the Koel which is sometimes called the Cooee or Rainbird..
The male bird is glossy blue black and very amusing to watch because it is so clumsy . It is currently on holiday in New Guinea.
I would recommend this tree because it forms such a good shape. It does get quite tall but is unlikely to fall down in a storm as the branches are quite elastic and supple.