I was feeling a little bit of minor family stress today and I needed some time in the garden. Unfortunately, our unseasonably warm weather has finally ended and there is snow on the ground once again. I took a trip to my local garden centre to dream about spring.
I was just happy to take a nice walk up and down the aisles, looking at herbs, tropical plants, and some shrubs being prepared for spring. I stopped by a display of citrus plants, and I thought that one might cheer me up. I picked a small lemon shrub, ready to bloom with small white flours. There were also tangerines and grapefruits, but I thought I would give this one a try.
The plants were from my local garden centre. In the U.S. they can be ordered online from Citrus.com. They are hardy to zone 9 and 10 – so definitely not for my zone 5-6 area, but my lemon shrub will look at home in the pot that I received for Christmas in a bright bay window. It is described as indoor/outdoor patio plant which should receive full or partial sun, kept semi-moist, and only hardy to 30-40degrees F – so no frost at all. It is self-fertile, which is awesome because it’s definitely not going to be near any other lemon trees in my neighbourhood. Fertilization should occur every 6 weeks for the first 3 years and mature trees should be fertilized 3 times per year March through September.
My oldest son arrived home from work (formerly a garden centre expert) tells me to mist the leaves, to give it 6-8 hours of sun per day and to move it away from heat sources. So I will move it within the same window to the opposite side away from the gas fireplace!
I look forward to watching it grow over the winter, and putting it out on my porch in late spring. Citrus.com offers lots of care instructions on their website, and I feel like I should head back to the store and buy some more types of citrus trees. I’m feeling energized after a quiet walk through the garden centre. Citrus.com also sells Tangerine, Grapefruit, Kumquat, and Lime trees online. I’m getting kind of hooked on the idea.
The plant tag gave me a recipe for Lemonade, but this is one of my staples to have in the refrigerator – my recipe:
Mix equal parts of sugar and lemon juice in a pitcher to make a syrup – add lots of water to taste and stir. I love just a little flavour of lemon and sugar in my water – so less concentrated is better for me – the kids like it stronger so one cup sugar, one cup lemon juice to a pitcher of water is perfect.
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