It’s never too late

Three hundred and fifty five days ago I publicly declared that I was going to conquer my incompetence with citrus trees and vowed to keep one alive.   I’ve killed so many over the years that my reputation proceeds me and when I wander the tree aisle of the garden centre all the lemons and limes quake with fear.    I just keep trying and applying my do or die philosophy down in the orchard.  This clearly didn’t work as they really didn’t appreciate the neglect, the lack of regular feeding and the soggy wet feet in winter.  I lost count of how many met their end down the far end.

My miracle manderin
My miracle mandarin – it is a survivor.

Having said that, there was one mandarin that after being given up for dead has actually managed to grow through the hard times and actually produced a harvest this season.  This came as a bit of a shock, to find a flash of orange in my winter orchard.  But it was really a lemon I was after.  It was always quite embarrassing to have to accept my lemons from the overabundance of others.

I thought it would be nice to pop them in the chicken run so they could feed it in their own special way and in return it could provide them with shade.  They didn’t quite see it that way and just scratched it up, damaging them beyond repair.  They didn’t last long there at all.

There is so much potential in this pile of wood
There is so much potential in this pile of wood – its a shame it got lost in the execution

Then there were the ones that died in the most shameful way – still in their pots, while I pondered the best way to keep them alive.  Oh the irony.

But this year was different and it took an entire year of deciding just how I’d go about it, but there was always something else to do, so they got pushed back to the bottom of the list.  Sometimes they weren’t even there at all, only to be returned to the list after a sleepless night where I was wracked with concern over the lack of lemon in my life.  My garden often wakes me at night to remind me of things that need to be done.

Even poor old Hubby the Un-Gardener reluctantly assisted
Even poor old Hubby the Un-Gardener reluctantly assisted – alas, all was lost in the planning stage or lack of one to be honest.

But with a handful of days left in the year, I needed to make good on this resolution and I headed to the garden centre and picked up a nervous Meyer Lemon and Tahitian Lime with dwarfing rootstock.  Things weren’t looking good for them as they ended up sitting on the deck in their pots for well over a week.  Putting them right outside the door may have caused problems for the rest of the family as they had to walk around them, but for me, it kept them in the forefront of my mind.

Filling the pots
Each scoop of soil was lovingly and carefully screened to remove roots and weeds that could compromise the health of these precious plants

I thought I’d whip up a container with the left over palings from my great compost / fence project, because if I’m to overcome the wet feet problem they need to be raised.  If they are to avoid being neglected and get feed regularly then they need to be right where I can see them – in my garden. However in my haste, my measure once by declaring ‘she’ll be right’ didn’t go well for me for once.  And after an afternoon of Hubby the Un-Gardener welding power tools on my behalf, I reluctantly abandoned my hand made bespoke container idea.  It could have been fabulous, because it was in my head.

How smart does this look?
How smart does this look? I’m so chuffed with my new pots.

While out Christmas shopping, buying gifts for others I found the bargin of the century and got two wonderfully large pots that will not only support my citrus, but make a stunning feature, because they are gorgeous.  I filled the pots with my rich soil, but also added a generous helping of perlite because normal soil can compact easily in containers.  I also added compost, blood and bone, sheep pellets and other goodies for sustaining the greedy plants as they settle in and grow to fill their new homes.

Grow well little lemon
Grow well little lemon – I promise to take good care of you, even better than your predecessors, may they rest in peace.

All going well I’ll have a splash of yellow fruit come winter and if not this one but the next. But as per my new years resolution, I really only have to keep them alive until the end of the year.  I’m sure I can manage keeping them in the land of the living for the next 10 days!

Come again soon – Christmas is days away and the garden has a large role in the menu.  It just wouldn’t be Christmas without it.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

10 thoughts on “It’s never too late

  1. Sarah, I just love your new pots, and the wee lemon tree looks amazing in there,,, I think it’s a fabulous idea to have them close by your door.. I’m sure you’ll be having fresh picked lemons in no time at all.. happy gardening while I shovel the snow for the next 5 months.. I can always get my gardening fix by your blogs and your videos.. Take care, sweet gardening friend and Merry Christmas and have a safe New Year.. Hugs from me to you … Laura in Northern Ontario, Canada

    1. Oh dear – that’s no good. I had a cow do that once to an apple tree, but I think I managed to save it. My pear tree this year has loads of fruit, I’m not sure what I’ll do with them all! : o)

  2. You have such a warm and wonderful way of writing. No matter the subject, I’m always engaged.

    We inherited an orange tree when we bought our house 21 years ago. Let me just say that none of the tree rats in our neighborhood are going to dive from scurvy. 😉

  3. I’ve never thought of growing citrus in pots, I always presumed they would outgrow them. Does the dwarf rootstock stop them from getting as big as normal trees? I’m going to be watching your progress with interest!

    1. As the citrus trees are on dwarf rootstock they won’t get anywhere near as big as ‘normal’ ones. They should be fine so long as they are kept well fed and well watered in the biggest pots I could afford. I have high hopes for them. : o)

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