Monday, May 30, 2011

In Which We Get A Lemon House

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.

Stood back.



Then thought "Hmm, it needs a little something on the sides."

And there you have it: The Lemon House


Samantha said...

What a wonderful little lemon house you have! Is it to keep the area warmer around the lemon trees so that they grow big and full of lemons? Will you need to cover them in the winter? Enquiring minds want to know.

sheila said...

Well, theoretically it is to keep them warmer during the winter. The fellow who sold them to me does this at his place (he has about 50X more lemons than I do). He has some growing in an unheated greenhouse, and others scattered around the yard under glass roofs. When it gets really cold (like it did this past winter) I hook up Christmas lights - the old style - and that is enough to keep the warmth around the tree. I like the fact that it is more protected - I am thinking that this will enable the tree to be happier. I'm all about the happy tree, particularly in light of the fact that the peach tree to the left of it is unhappy because it sits in water too much of the time. Poor unhappy peach.

Suji said...

Love the whole story and the lemon house. Your lemons are growing! They look fabulous.

Why are men so obsessed with measurements? I guess we will never know.

If I'd been there, I'd have been sitting with that lot under the umbrella eating more than my fair share of ice cream.

I was so struck by how much FDPG has grown. Going to break many hearts that one.

Samantha said...

My peach tree is unhappy too. Could it just be the year of the unhappy peach?

p.s. your garden posts inspire me to get myself out to my garden. I'm great with the food gardens, but the flower gardens have been ignored this year.

sheila said...

Hasn't she grown, Suji? It's sort of disconcerting. You'd have liked our ice cream choices, there happened to be a lot of them that day.

Samantha, what WERE you doing near my neck of the woods without LETTING ME KNOW? I hope it isn't the year of the Unhappy Peach. But I am going to have to DO SOMETHING about it, that's for sure. It's looking tragic - covered with fruit, but no leaves. Not good.

Samantha said...

I was visiting my parents in Vancouver. Please don't tell me you were there that week or I will sob. Uncontrollably. It will not be pretty. I figured it was too far from you, but next time I'll let you know, just in case.

Could the leaves just be coming in late? Mine didn't get a lot of flowers and the leaves are pretty sparse as well. I thinned the peaches last year but maybe not enough. Probably not enough. Got too greedy (sigh). Hopefully that is it and it will be back to it's glorious peacheeness next year. Of course our spring has been very cool, so that might be it as well.

sheila said...

I wasn't, but you could have come over as a walk-on via the ferry and I would have picked you up! Then returned you to the ferry afterwards. Do it next time!

Samantha said...

I will!

sheila said...

And I will remember.

Samantha said...

Hmm. Now I'm a little scared.

Hey, this time my word is ecker. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!