I had a little lemon tree…

After all my hard work lately - I couldn't resist taking a mid-month panoramic progress photo

After all my hard work lately – I couldn’t resist taking a mid-month panoramic progress photo

It has been about five years since we began out rural adventure and one of the first things I did was purchase a lemon tree and planted it in orchard area.  As the orchard filled with all manner of fruiting tree, my citrus collection also grew.  I added grapefruit, lemonade, mandarin, tangelo and a lime.

I have since found out citrus don’t like wet feet!  It’s not like I planted them directly into a bog – I put them in the highest point of the orchard, but we do live on what was once a swamp – there is no way around it – it gets wet here from time to time, so needless to say I have one by one killed all the citrus – all but one.  The lemon.  It seems to have this bizarre will to live, despite its circumstances.

The other day we were in the orchard planting a new tree and Hubby the Un-Gardener wandered over to check on the lemon.  Disappointed with its inability to provide him with slices of lemon to poke into his beer bottle on a hot sunny day, he took matters into his own hands – and dug it up.  Then he brought it to the garden and said “Sarah the Gardener – try and fix this please.”

Not exactly a fine specimen!

Not exactly a fine specimen!

It was smaller than it was when we planted it and the root ball that had been dug up with it was bound together with weeds.  It had about half a dozen yellowing leaves, lichen was beginning to grow on its branches – but it was still green so there was still hope.  I took the hose and blasted away at the roots, and revealed a root system more pathetic than the leaf structure.  This tree had not been living in the orchard – it had been existing – clinging on to life – for five years!

Recuperating in the Bucket Infirmary

Recuperating in the Bucket Infirmary

I figured with such a will to live, it deserved the only the best of care.  So I created the Bucket Infirmary and planted the tree into a bucket rich in all the nutrients that a lemon loves, and watered it in well.  Once it begins to show signs of recovery and life, I’ll move it to a more semi-permanent home in a Convalescent Container, where it can stretch its roots and blossom with its new found freedom.  Then we will take some time to select the perfect location for a final destination so it can grow into a strong and mighty lemon tree and Hubby the Un-Gardener can sit in the shade of its branches after a hard days digging with a beer with a slice of home grown lemon poked into the bottle.

This beautiful flower is an Aquilegia - grannies bonnet - the first one to pop up!

This beautiful flower is an Aquilegia – grannies bonnet – the first one to pop up!

Well… that’s the plan – so far so good!

Come again soon – spring is in full swing!

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

NB:  I’ve made a wee film and loaded it onto You Tube so you can see how my garden looks this October!  Check it out >here<

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14 Comments on “I had a little lemon tree…

  1. Ah – I thought it was the frost that knocked off my Tahitian lime tree. Perhaps it was the boggy part of the garden the tree was planted in. We brought home a bucket load of limes from a friend’s place in Omokoroa – and that was just the fruit that had fallen on the ground – so they must have the perfect spot.

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  2. I want to just reach out and cuddle that poor little lemon tree. Against the odds it has survived! I have a small almond tree that was clinically dead for an entire year. The only way I knew that it wasn’t really dead was that I phoned up my daughters and asked them to tip it out (I had left the dead plant in the back yard when we moved out) as I wanted the pot and they told me that it had leaves and asn’t dead! I didn’t believe them as it had no leaves or water for a year! It is in the ground now with 15 almonds growing on it. It just goes to show that nature is very VERY persistent even when we give up on it 🙂

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    • Hi. My theory is a plant isn’t dead until it is brown and shrivelled. My lemon tree is still green, so there is still hope – even after all the leaves go blown off in a storm!!!
      Your almond tree gives me hope,
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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      • Even brown and shrivelled can be deceiving Sarah! I always give dead looking plants TLC for a bit before I bin them. We brought 3 Araucaria bidwillii (bunya nut) seeds back from a trip to the Melbourne International Flower and Garden show in Carlton Victoria and planted them out and waited gleefully for their little sprouts to show us that they were growing…we waited…and waited…and forgot about them after 6 months…the pots got shoved back to the back of the pile and a year later…still nothing and the ONLY reason we didn’t throw them out was that we hadn’t noticed the small pots at the back. We were doing a pot cleanup after 18 months and we saw the pots with nothing growing and decided to toss the failed experiment into the compost heap and as we shook out the potting mix from the very first pot we saw a very long tap root and strange shoot still small BUT alive! 18 months! All 3 bunyas are now happily alive and growing on Serendipity Farm. Perfect little specimens for her because good luck to ANYTHING getting through those amazing spikes! Sometimes you just never know what nature is up to under the soil 😉

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    • Hi there. I have since discovered that the bucket hospital should be kept in a sheltered location, well away from the full blast of storm winds as this tends to make the leaves fall off. Now all I can do is hope it bounces back or I’m going to have to go shopping!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  3. Hi Sarah

    Loved your lemon tree post. I am about to write one in my blog this morning.. I have been reading up about lemons in Louis Glowinsky book the Complete Book of Fruit Growing in Australia. From my limited Ungardener (sounds like the Undead) knowledge they like a good drink where water can flow through but not get stuck at their feet. twice a week and fertilise during their fruiting season.
    My gut feeling is not to feed them too much when they are in ‘hospital’.

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    • Hi there. Thank you for your advice. My poor lemon tree is in even worse shape at the moment as it got hit by a windy day and all the leaves fell off. It is still green and so in my book there is always hope. I haven’t given up on it yet…
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  4. I love the panoramic shot! Your garden looks amazing! & I’m entirely jealous of your hothouse! Keep up the amazing work & looking forward to hearing the next installments!

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    • Hi there. I try to take a panoramic shot at the same time every month so I can see the changing seasons and how much things have grown. The hothouse is a bit of a disaster as our sun is too strong for the polycarbonate panels and it is perishing after only two years. I have plans for something better.
      Thank you for your lovely words of encouragement.
      Cheers Sarah :o)

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  5. Hello I am so glad I found your blog, I really found you by accident, while I was researching on Google for something
    else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a remarkable post and a all round interesting blog
    (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the excellent work.

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    • Hi there. Thank you ever so much for your kind words. I really enjoy what I do here, so I’m glad you do too. Have a great weekend.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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