Figs: So it would seem that figs can survive AND fruit here. I wasn't sure this lone fruit (on 2 year old 'Hardy Chicago') would ripen soon enough because it stayed green and stayed the size of a grape for what seemed like forever. But within just a few days it ballooned up and changed color. So, I can now say I've tasted a fresh fig (only "newtons" before that). It was tasty just like everyone is always saying. I hope that next year it gets a bunch more.
Violets: Down below is a second generation violet seedling from the first generation hybrid Viola X cooperrideri. The F1 hybrid was from a hand pollination of Viola striata by pollen of Viola walteri. I'm encouraged that a few of the F2 seedlings (like this one) have been blooming fairly well in the Fall too. I'm considering putting a little selective pressure on this population to try to push them toward all summer bloom. Actually all of these violets DO bloom all summer but when the day becomes a certain length, they switch over to producing small (non-showy) cleistogamous flowers. I'll just need to select for longer and longer daylength requirement (for that switch-over) and then they'll have the pretty chasmogamous ones all summer.