It all started with this: two lemon trees, a concrete wall, some mulch, and a cold frame.
It seemed so easy at the time. Stick them in the ground. Watch them grow. Harvest lemons - in the event that they fruited. What I didn't bank on was how much growing them - this not being your typical lemon growing climate - would obsess me.
Okay, maybe I did. I might not have recognized it at the time, but hindsight is always 20/20, isn't it?
So I planted the lemons, and left them. Then I started looking at the path to the cold frame from this angle. The cold frame is at the end on the left, that small blob of plastic. But the path was so very crooked. Bumpy. Hard to mow. Awkward when picking peas and beans from the arbour (on the right). I will flatten this path, I thought. I will lift the sod, remove some soil, then replace the sod. The path will be flat and smooth...
...and it will lead to a Lemon House.
Fast forward several months, some discussions with family members (some willing, some rather, hmmm, let's just say recalcitrant and leave it at that), and many many discarded ideas.
Here is the germ of the method we finally settled on - in the bed of that red pickup. An old glass door set into a wooden frame. The man on the left (AKA: Willing Father) built it; the man on the right (AKA: Recalcitrant Husband) assisted in getting it into this truck. He has no idea what he's in for, which is probably a good thing.
Ignorance really IS bliss in some cases.
Once we got the glass over to the back yard of our house, there was, this being a Male Building Event, much measuring and discussion.
Endless measuring and discussing, actually.
Which was when I noticed that Recalcitrant Husband was standing on my lemon tree.
Bad Recalcitrant Husband.
We have a brief break while I intervene in the Male Building Event. Recalcitrant Husband, for all his wonderful qualities, has a long and distressing history of standing on plants in the garden without any clue OR concern whatsoever. When apprised of his Plant Standing Transgressions he doesn't bat an eyelid, either. "Well, what's it doing there?" he says, sometimes rather rudely. "That's not a good place for a —" I point out that he's actually IN the garden, where plants are SUPPOSED to be, but he never quite grasps the irony of my remarks. So I must be vigilant.
Here we have Lemon trees with Protective Coatings.
They laughed when I did this. Recalcitrant Husband might even have rolled his eyes at Willing Father a little, but I remained firm: either the lemons have a cover throughout the entire Building Experience or I stand around barking out remarks like "YOUR FOOT IS ON THE LEMON TREE!" and "WATCH THAT LEMON TREE!" and "ACCKKKKKK! THE LEMON TREE IS GETTING SQUISHED!" and maybe even a little "GET YOUR FEET OFF THAT LEMON TREE."
Fortunately everyone saw the sense in keeping the covers on the lemon trees.
They then resumed their endless measuring and discussing.
Measuring some more.
Discussing some more.
Then there was this lot, who spent a lot of time goading other people into getting ice cream from the freezer and eating it. They look innocent enough, but don't be leaving them near your freezers any time soon, lemme tell you.
And then suddenly it was up. The glass was on, the posts were in place, the frame was straight, the supports were screwed in.
It all looked wonderful, from any angle.
But it was when I was taking this picture, ostensibly of the post and concrete block, that I noticed how, well, sunken the lemon trees were.
The lemons were sprawled on the ground, too. They'd been like that all winter.
Not a good look for a lemon, if you ask me.
So today I dug them up and set them on a base of soil and compost and manure. Built a little brick box around them.
Took another picture.
Then thought "Hmm, it needs a little something on the sides."
And there you have it: The Lemon House