Rare Fruit Club of Western Australia

Tropical fruit lover can even get Perth's sandy gardens to flourish

The garden around Barry Madsen’s house holds more than 50 rare fruit and nut trees. Madsen is the president of the Rare Fruit Club of Western Australia, and by his own admission he is just a little bit obsessed.

After retirement and in search of a healthier lifestyle, 10 years ago Madsen decided to have a crack at growing avocados at his home in Perth. And then it got addicting...

Mr Madsen now has more than 50 trees and vines, growing everything from avocados and figs to feijoas, a chocolate pudding fruit and carob pods. Now Western Australia's hot, dry summers, its sandy, infertile soils and strict quarantine laws that prevent importing tropical plants from interstate are all challenges, but creating an exotic orchard at home is possible, says Madsen.
"Here in Perth we have some of the poorest soil in the world. But it can be surmounted provided you cater for their special needs. It is amazing what you can get to grow here."

Getting advice on how to source and grow exotic species is where the Rare Fruit Club comes in, revealed abc.net.au in an article. It has around 100 members and they meet regularly at each other's properties, giving them a chance to see and taste what others are growing. Members can sometimes take a cutting of a rare plant that would otherwise be almost impossible to buy.

Madsen's garden has been planted with a mix of varieties and species to ensure he gets ripe fruit of some kind almost all year round. His annual harvest is enormous. For example, he picks around 80 kilograms of pawpaw every year and almost always has an oversupply of avocados.

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