Thirty Days in the Garden: Citrus in Bloom

Our citrus trees are blooming again. The waxy flowers produce an intoxicating scent that invites you to linger below the tree.

Lemon tree buds
Orange Blossom

We inherited an orange tree when we bought the house, along with a tall lemon tree and an almond. I never tasted the almonds, but the squirrels certainly approved. They remained well-fed during the tree’s tenure.

Squirrel eating sunflower seeds on our deck

Sadly, two of those three trees suffered from neglect. The lemon tree had been allowed to fork early. The tree grew two long trunks that started splitting the tree in half. We harvested the lemons as best we could and tied the two trunks together for support.

Alas, I arrived home one day, puzzled by the bright sun at the corner of the house. It took me a moment to realize that our lemon tree had split down the middle. Half the tree lay sprawled across the garden.

The almond tree suffered from a lethal fungus internal to the tree. The arborist recommended removing it before it fell down. Sadly, it had to go.

Only one established tree in the back garden remained: the orange.

Anna’s hummingbird resting in the orange tree

We bought a Meyer lemon to replace the tree we lost and made sure it grew in an upright manner. I’ve also tried to prune it in such a way that it remains easy to harvest. The lemon started in a pot, but it didn’t take off until it went into the ground. It occupies a space in our side yard, where we share it with our neighbors.

Lemon tree, ivy, azalea, lily, and Jasmin vine

It’s easy to forget all these years later how far we’ve come with shipping and refrigeration. As a young girl in Canada, an orange was a special treat placed in the bottom of our Christmas stocking. Oranges weren’t readily available in Ontario at that time, or if they were, they were pricey.

I sometimes look back on a time when things weren’t plentiful. It’s good to keep one’s perspective. When I sit under the orange tree, fragrant blossoms inviting me to lift my head skyward, I’m reminded of the extraordinary gift of citrus in bloom.

10 thoughts on “Thirty Days in the Garden: Citrus in Bloom

  1. How lovely that you have your own oranges!

    I remember the tradition of an orange at the bottom of a Christmas stocking but never did it with my own daughter, which is a shame. Oranges are, like everything else, available all year round, though I try to buy them only in winter from Spain, the traditional supplier for us.

    Anyway, your orange tree is magnificent. I’m pleased to hear you now have a new lemon tree – do you think you will get another almond tree?


  2. How lovely to be able to grow oranges and lemons in your garden. Still, all the different climates have their advantages as far as fruit growing is concerned I suppose and I’m grateful for the ones we can grow.
    I love the cheeky squirrel photo.


  3. That must be amazing to pick your own oranges! The blossom is pretty too and it looks so happy in your photo of it bearing its fruit. 😃 My parents used to cook up orange marmalade in winter if my Dad found some reasonably priced Seville oranges on the market. That smell is wonderful. Almond blossom is also very pretty, so will you plant a replacement one day? Although, is it right that they need a lot of water?


  4. Holy cats! I would swoon with delight if I had an orange tree loaded with fruit in my backyard. Like you, I remember a time when fresh fruit was not available year round. In the winter, we pretty much ate canned fruit because, well, that’s what there was. We did have apples. I’m trying to remember the first time I ate fresh citrus, but nothing comes to mind.


  5. I miss my citrus trees we had in California along with the apricot and mulberries. We had one orange tree that tasted like quinine. We took it down and a non bearing avocado. That’s when the apricot and dwarf mulberry came in. Your small yard has extended itself greatly to keep everyone fed so well. Oranges and all citrus are winter crops but the summer flowers smell so sweet. I bet the bees love the flowers too.


  6. The smell of citrus blossom is such a wonderful promise of good things to come…
    I’ve promised myself a couple of ‘fruit salad’ tree one day, with lemon, orange, mandarin and lime all grafted onto one trunk. With two, they’ll cross pollinate successfully and ensure a steady supply of fruit. In the meantime, various neighbours keep us supplied with lemons, cumquats and mandarins, and we return the favour with bananas.


  7. Isn’t it amazing how things have changed since we were little? I imagine it’s true for every generation before us too. I’m kind of missing the days when mandarine oranges were a big tree every Christmas. Dad would unwrap them to check for spoilt ones, then rewrap the good ones and put them back in the box. To be handled out with a kind of celebratory acknowledgement, so special because they were wrapped, like little gifts.
    Now we can pick them up at the market anytime, a shame for the nostalgic types like us.
    Your tree makes an impressive anchor in your yard! I don’t thing I’ve really ever smelt orange blossoms (except in a perfume).
    I imagine it’s pretty heavenly. Is that Ivy in the side yard being pruned into a horse or unicorn? xK


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