In April, Philo was looking for lumber, and I was bored and looking for trouble, tagging along to the big box store, cruising the garden section as I entered the building. It must have been Destiny when I stopped in front of a batch of newly unpacked little trees. These trees were small, “produced in Texas”, and labeled “Improved Meyer’s Lemon. They were tagged at only $14.88 so owning this lemon tree was affordable. In addition to the lure of the beautiful glossy foliage, there were even a few tiny lemons developing on one branch, proving that this particular tree had borne flowers.
We put the pot on the patio near the Rosemary where we could see it from the breakfast room, watching the tiny lemons grow slowly, so that by June they looked like medium size limes. There were also a few more blossoms, creamy and fragrant.
It’s nearing November now and my baby tree has held onto most of the fruit, even through the drought. The lemons are now turning yellow.
This little tree pleases me whenever I look at it, and whether or not the fruit turn out to be as delicious as the tag promised, they’re beautiful.
I should now be thinking of a place inside my house where the Lemon can get light all winter, but since last Saturday I’ve been envisioning a different future for my tree.
Over at Digging, Pam has been posting a photo journal of last Saturday’s Garden Conservancy tour. Philo & I went to several of the gardens, including that of Deborah Hornickel. Deborah’s garden is wonderful and dramatic, with interesting plants and great design – she was featured in a recent issue of Cottage Living Magazine. If you go over to Pam/Digging's Post you’ll see Deborah’s huge Meyer’s Lemon tree, planted outside, sheltered by the southwest-facing wall of her house. The lemons are enormous! Deborah told me that hers was just a small plant similar in size to mine when she took a chance and set it into the ground 5 years ago.
I really want to try this! Although it’s not exactly a blank area, there’s a perfect spot on a Southwest-facing wall at the back of our house. A large Nandina that was planted by one of the previous owners is there now, and we neither like nor dislike this Nandina – it just came with the house. Luckily for me, Philo was quite taken with the lemon at Deborah’s house, too, and he’s willing to oust the Nandina so we can plant our Meyer’s Lemon tree there. There’s an overhanging eave for ice protection, and it’s close to the back door – increasing the chances that we won’t forget to water it, and can quickly cover it with a blanket on a cold night.
A new batch of blossoms opened last week and are now turning into another set of tiny fruit, which will need months of sun and water to turn into juicy globes. I don't know what will happen if they get too cold and I don't know if the lemon could come back from the roots if we have a mini-ice age in Austin. But I’m ready to take a $15 chance on something wonderful. Do you think this plan is crazy, or would you also plant the Meyer's Lemon outside?