The Callahan Garden Page
Travis & Diana Callahan
11403 Wesley Road
Abbeville, LA 70510
Our experience growing fruit has covered 21 years at one location (Lindsey Drive) and the past 6 years here in our subdivision yard (Wesley Road). At the previous location we had 85 fruit trees and were testing many varieties of pear, fig, persimmon, mayhaw , and others. From the experiences gained over those years, when the flood of Hurricane Rita caused us to re-locate to this smaller property, we planted our favorite trees of each kind.
We enjoy gardening year round here in South Louisiana with it's fairly mild winters. We grow trees and flowering shrubs native to the area and also a fruit orchard numbering some 16 trees and several muscadine and grape vines as well as Blueberry bushes . These are some of the fruit we grow:
Texas Star Mayhaw was one of my favorites.
Mayhaw fruit is native to several of the Deep South states and really thrives here. The jelly made from the Mayhaw is in our opinion the best jelly made . We also use the fruit to make pies, syrup, and a fine wine. The range of the mayhaw is from Northern Florida to East Texas, and from the Gulf to about the South Arkansas border. The fruit is very low chill and because of this can not be reliably grown on a commercial basis North of the Louisiana /Arkansas state line. This fruit is not familiar to most gardeners but a commercial fruit juice extraction factory, Grant Fruit Processing, is now operating in Pollock, Louisiana and it is possible to order juice from several varieties of fruit. My friend Billy Craft of Woodworth Louisiana, is a co-author of the book entitled Mayhaws a guide to orchard production and propagation.
The Mayhaw jelly is the best in my opinion and is the Louisiana State jelly.
I have planted two Maxine Mayhaw trees and a new Red Champ in my current orchard.
This is one branch of a Jujube tree that we named Abbeville at the old place. The Jujube is a wonderful fruit that is unknown to many growers in the South. Also known as the Chinese Date, the jujube fruit , about the size of a small egg. We use the fruit to make a delicious syrup, then dehydrate the used fruit to make candied dates. These candied dates have a shelf life , in a zip lock bag , of over a year. The fruit is also eaten fresh from the tree when the color changes from green to mahogany. We also grew several other varieties.
We have settled on the variety Li due to it's large size which makes it easier to dehydrate and process.
I continue to be amazed at the Li jujube that bears at a very young age and goes on to produce very large crops.
We have also planted the variety Jin but the spot is a little too wet and I will be raising the tree and putting it on a raised top soil bed about a foot high. Here with seventy inches rain a year the young tree is in danger of root rot. My trees are always supplied by Roger Meyer of Fountain Valley, CA
li Jujube 16 inches high with 20 fruit in it's 18th month in the ground.
The crop of the above tiny Li Jujube tree removed prematurely due to the danger of the limbs breaking.
A branch from the Li Jujube the third year with the tree now at over eight feet tall.
Unloading the dehydrator with candied dates (Jujube). In the process we also end up with about two quarts of Jujube Syrup.
This is the Ison muscadine which is one of the results of a 50 year breeding program to improve the quality of the native muscadine by the Ison family of Brooks Georgia. We also grow Black Beauty, another of their wonderful muscadine varieties here in our orchard.
We have grown figs for the past 27 years, 21 years at a previous location and in the sixth year here . The Fig family are everywhere here in South Louisiana. Of all the varieties Celeste is by far the most common. The Alma Fig seems to be more cold tolerant . We also grew five other varieties at our previous location and have found that the LSU Purple fruits very late in the year well after the others has stopped producing. This allows us to spread the harvest over several months. We eat the fruit fresh from the tree , make delicious preserves, and wonderful fig tarts. We had added Improved Celeste and Hollier in the final years there.
Six years ago we moved to our current, and much smaller location, due to Hurricane Rita and the flood that it brought. We planted two Celeste, one Improved Celeste ( O'Rourke) , and a LSU Purple Fig which is my favorite of all the figs. We find it hard to use all the figs we produce and always give some to friends.
This is Champanel, my favorite grape for wine.. These grapes are very tart and well suited to making wine, and bear very heavy crops every year..
Here is some of the fruit from our Saijo tree. This young tree is only three years old and had more than a hundred fruit in this, it's first year to produce fruit. This variety is dehydrated while still firm and when it is fully yellow. This makes a premium dried fruit with a remarkable sweet taste.
We also grow Fuyu persimmon here in our orchard . Fuyu is a non astringent persimmon and is eaten fresh from the tree when it turns orange color and is still firm. These are considered by us to need no spraying here at our place.
We have three adult (6 years old) and a new baby blue berry bush in the orchard. The large fruit crop from these bushes each year is hard to believe .
Leona Pear July 4, 2004
Southern Bartlett Pear is an unknown local variety named by my friend Larry Brown.
I am presently chairman of the Nafex Southern Pear Interest Group. Nafex is the North American Fruit Explorers which is a three thousand member amateur fruit growing organization. We grow many different fruits which we test for adaptability to our individual areas. We publish a quarterly publication called Pomona. I have included a link to Nafex on this page.
The Hosui Pear, my favorite Asian pear
When we bought the property, Mike Conlin, the previous owner had planted a sweet orange in the spot where we put our new driveway. In the meantime Mr. Mike passed away after a battle with cancer. We carefully lifted the plant into a container and two years ago planted it in the yard. This year the tree is loaded with fruit for the first time.
Our favorite citrus is the Page Mandarin
The Southern Fruit Fellowship is another fine group of fruit growers primarily in the South . They publish a quarterly newsletter with dues of $15.00 per year. To join write : Southern Fruit Fellowship c/o Rhetta Davis 2051 Evergreen Drive Shreveport, LA 71118
You can also click on the SFF page below to see the membership page
One of the many visitors to our numerous hibiscus plants
We also grow many different flowering shrubs and trees here at home. Here are some of our favorites.
The rare Indian Pink
The Daffodil of our old ancestors
Flowers of The Fuzzy Dutsia
The blooms of the beautiful Star Magnolia
These and many others make our days a little brighter here at home
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Page updated 6-12-13