Bambina, or Feijoa sellowiana TharFiona, was named, in part, after Fiona Boylan and her Tharfield Nursery after propagation work on the variety started for the nursery’s Incredible Edibles range more than a decade ago.
“In the early 2000s we acquired three plants that were planted in our stock garden where we watched them to evaluate growth and see if they could become future plants for Incredible Edibles,” Fiona says.
“It took, give or take, about 10 years of learning about how these new plants grew before we proceeded to bulk up numbers for stock plants.”
The research and breeding programme has borne fruit with thin, edible skin surrounding sweet pulp.
The fruit, which ripens in autumn, is also high in vitamin C — useful for keeping coughs and colds at bay.
As well as for the fruit’s good taste, Fiona also expects the plant will be well received by gardeners in its own right. With an abundance of bright red flowers, the evergreen Bambina features delicate, small leaves, and an abundance of bright red flowers.
Growing to only about 1.5 metres in height, it’s an ideal container plant or low-growing hedge.
Natives of Brazil and Uruguay, feijoas have become Kiwi favourites since the first varieties were introduced into New Zealand about a century ago.
Although they typically prefer full sun, feijoas are frost hardy, able to withstand temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius during colder months.
Tolerant of most soil conditions, these Latin lovelies can be a little delicate when it comes to strong winds, however, and may require protection when planted in exposed areas.