Sunday, February 10, 2013

Of Weather And Lemons

The bad news is that we only got a measly four inches of snow, and now the wind is blowing it all around and making driving difficult.  The good news is that everything is white and the sun is out and it's blindingly bright outside.

In direct response to this my little lemon tree, which has been covered in buds for weeks, finally opened one of its flowers, and it smells just as heavenly as I expected.  I love citrus trees--their dark green, leathery leaves, their waxy white blooms, and their scent.

I've worked hard for that one bloom.  I ordered the tree online in December, and it came without any buds.  I put it in the sun porch and read up on its care.  I gave it a blue-and-white Chinese cachepot, spritzed it daily, and watered it neither too little nor too much.  When it dropped a few leaves I assumed it was because of the stress of getting used to its new home.

I was encouraged when the first flower buds appeared, but I kept having to pick up more and more leaves off the floor.  And even the leaves that were still clinging to the branches had a kind of tense, unhappy look about them.  The only thing I could think was that, since the sun porch tends to get chilly at night, the tree might be cold.

I moved it near a south-facing window in the kitchen, to a shelf above the baseboard heater.  And overnight the little tree relaxed.  I could practically hear it sighing with relief.  It lost that tight, clenched look and stopped dropping its leaves.  And it made even more buds, one of which is now open, like a little star.

I understand that if I want fruit I may have to hand-pollinate the blooms with a fine paintbrush, which sounds like a strangely intimate function to perform.  But I'm willing to do almost anything to attain self-sufficiency in lemons.  I'll let you know how it goes.  Meanwhile, you can find me in the kitchen, brush in hand, waiting for the second bud to open.

5 comments :

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  2. While pollinating, you can sing the bumblebee song.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWZPR6ECPzY

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  3. How exciting to have a blooming lemon tree. I sure took that for granted when I lived in California. I don't know if I would be able to keep one alive now. Good luck with the pollination. I hope you get real lemons. xox

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    1. You can certainly grow citrus trees indoors. I've done it before. If you take them outside during the summer they do even better.

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