Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lemon Tree

I was so excited when I purchased my Meyer Lemon tree a few months ago from a local nursery! I bought it a new gorgeous pot and reminisced about picking citrus in Florida with my Grandparents when they lived down there and couldn't wait to pick my own and make good use out of it! That is until a few weeks ago...

One word... squirrels.

The tree had so many little lemons, green and looking more like limes at the time, but tiny capsules of liquid gold to me. But unfortunately it just happens that un-ripe lemons look and kind of smell like un-ripe walnuts, who'da thought? Needless to say I saw some squirrels on the back porch one morning playing kickball with 2 of them and they must have plucked and played basketball with at least 6 more because I saw them scattered all over the property.

I'm sure one bite and they weren't interested, but to pluck them... I was devastated. There goes our homemade summer lemonade and lemon tarts I was so syked about. But those pesky little creatures did leave me one. So I'm nurturing it like I grew it from a seedling and am almost at the point of putting it on display instead of cutting into it when it is ripe because of all the time and money put into protecting the little guy (though I haven't named him yet, guess that's a good sign).

(Hubby's quick fix solution for the tree)

This week I did see more blooms and as of yesterday there are 4 more on the way! Though I have to mention that the seedlings inside the bloom are extremely fragile! I brushed up against them when there were still blooms and knocked the second from the left completely out of the the middle of the flower! The flowers reminds me of honeysuckle when it grows, though DO NOT touch, pick or possibly even blow too hard on the long stems in the middle of the flower when they're growing, they're attached to the base of the lemon and eventually fall off when the baby lemon is a little more established. Found this out the hard way :)

Here's a tidbit of history and cultivating if anyone's interested.

The Meyer Lemon is the most popular of all the citrus. In 1908, Mr. Meyer imported the first Meyer Lemon tree from China, where it is grown as a dooryard tree. Meyer Lemon is compact enough even for urban balconies and limited-space gardens. This lemon tree will begin bearing large, juicy, thick-skinned fruit at an early age! Without any fruit, this evergreen would be attractive enough to grow as an ornamental. The leaves are lush and glossy, the small white flowers often bloom indoors in late winter, just when the house needs some color and scent. The flowers are intensely fragrant, and the tree has a habit that is upright and well-branched. Depending on the size of the container and pruning you give it, this tree could reach 8 feet high and 10 feet wide, but can also be kept smaller. Container size is very important. Choose a container that is ample for the tree. A 10-15 gallon container will allow for a 10-feet-tall tree under perfect conditions. Under average conditions, a tree can reach 7-8 feet in a pot this size.

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