Tag Archives: dwarf meyer lemon

Lemon Tree Blooms for 2012

If you’ve been following my lemon tree saga, you may be wondering how the tree is doing now.

After bringing the tree indoors around Halloween I haven’t done much with it.  It sits next to our South facing glass doors and on sunny days it can soak in whatever rays penetrate our energy-saving glass.

Around early December I noticed it was developing the tell-tale bumps that would later become blossoms.  By Christmas, dozens of tightly closed blossoms graced the lemon tree.  This week, many of them are opening up and I am thoroughly enjoying their citrus-y perfume.

Now that they are open, it’s my job to take nature’s place and pollinate the tree.  I do this with a tiny paintbrush, simply dabbing the centers of the blooms gently.   I try to do all the open blooms once and then come around and hit them again with the pollen from the other blooms hopefully being distributed.  Does this really work?

Honestly, I don’t think it did last year.  But time will tell.  And short of keeping bees in my house, this is pretty much the only way to do this.  Now I will sit back and wait to see if the tree holds onto any of these blossoms and whether or not any of them will produce an actual lemon.  Already, some have fallen off as they have in years past.

I will hold out hope for a different ending to the 2012 lemon tree story.  And if it’s not to be, then I’ll just be glad for the special scent of these January blossoms and the bit of sunshine they bring to my winter world.

Previous lemon tree entries include:

When life hands you one lemon…
Repotting the Lemon Tree
Lemon Tree Update

Seedling Update

Seedling setup.

It’s been a few weeks since I started my second tray of seeds.  For the most part, nature is taking its course and itty bitty versions of my favorite plants have popped up.  There are a few stinkers in the bunch though, a problem that vexes me year after year.  Why don’t some seeds germinate?

These imapatiens are some of the few that germinated out of a tray of 64.

It’s obvious that conditions are not right for the tray of impatiens I had hoped to grow.  I’m not sure where I went wrong with this one.  A few seeds seem to like the accommodations I’ve provided, but the vast majority do not.  Maybe the starting mix is too wet, or too cold.  My previous experience with starting flowers from seed was extremely successful–I grew six varieties of zinnias, they were so healthy and beautiful.  This tray of impatiens is a pitiful sight.

The good news is that veggies and herbs are thriving.  Thinking about the tomatoes and eggplants that these tiny plants will become makes me happy!  Maybe I’ve started too many plants, but I do this in case there is any trouble.  I like to have some back up plants just in case.  It’s insurance.  Inevitably, I’ll be searching out adoptive  parents for my extra seedlings come Memorial Day.

This tomato is showing some nice leaves. All tomato varieties came up with no problems.

Every day I turn the tray around because these tiny plants lean right into the sunlight.

Noticeably, eggplant and pepper seeds are taking longer than the others.  I hope they come up just fine in the next few days.  I’m trying to keep them warm by putting them on the heat vent at night.  They are getting plenty of warmth from the sun during the day.  I’ve never had a problem with these in the past, so I’m expecting them to pop up eventually.

So what’s the next step?  Well, this weekend I will be transplanting some lettuces and spinach into pots outside.  If we are threatened with hard frosts I can always haul the pots inside or cover with a blanket.

I have begun planting seeds outside.  This week my son and I put in the peas and arugula.  I hope to have the head lettuce and radishes in by the weekend as well.  It’s still cold at night here, but not too cold for these types of seeds.  They even like the cold.

Our weather in Southeastern Wisconsin has been cool, damp and rather dismal.  It’s to be expected, but I long for one of those freakishly warm April days that are just right for working outside and getting that first touch of sun on my white wintry skin.  Wouldn’t some warm sun feel good about now?  I think my plants would agree.

I’ve been taking my rosemary and lemon tree outside during the day.  They’ll need a few weeks of this to adjust to outdoor conditions.  The lemon tree has set some new buds and I’m hoping that taking it outdoors will toughen it up enough to hold onto those buds rather than dropping them like the last set.  In a few weeks I will pot it up to the next size of pot and add organic fruit fertilizer to the mix.  With any luck it might produce a lemon or two this year.  Now if I could just get some bees to come back to my yard to take care of pollinization–that lemon tree’d be all set!

A new set of lemon tree buds brings new hope that this tree may produce fruit in 2011.

I’ve always enjoyed videos that show how a seed grows (thanks to my 80’s childhood watching Sesame Street I’m sure) so here is a link to a nice example from Nova:  Teachers’ Domain: From Seed to Flower.

It’s the beginning of an exciting time of year for me.  A time of hope and expectation, a time for work and play.  It’s off to a good start!

When life hands you one lemon…

savor it!

In spring of 2009 I purchased a Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree from Gurney’s.  For $9.99 I could grow citrus in my own home, here in Wisconsin.  What fun!

Meyer Lemon tree during it's first summer.

The lemon tree spent that first spring and summer outside, soaking in the sun and becoming healthy and strong.  September came around (it was a very cold fall here in Wisconsin that year) and the lemon tree moved indoors to overwinter with us in the comfort of our heated home.

Lo and behold that lemon tree blossomed!  I used a paintbrush to help it pollinate, after all we don’t have any bees in our house to do that duty.  I dutifully misted the tree to simulate the humidity it would have in it’s natural (much more tropical) environment.  I fertilized the tree and generally babied the thing.

And for all my hard work and dedication?  It produced one lemon.  Well, actually two.  But I picked one while it was green* so that the lemon tree could put all its effort into that one special lemon, after all they were growing on the same tiny branch, fighting each other for nutrients and whatever else lemons need to become plump and yellow.

*(Don’t despair lemon lovers, that green lemon spent a few weeks in my refrigerator, turned a shade of green/yellow that seemed edible and was used to add brightness to piece of tilapia that desperately needed it.  It certainly did not go to waste.)

The lemon.

And so the day arrived, and that one precious fruit was plucked from the tree.  Being a special lemon, I wanted to make sure it’s lemon-ness was showcased in the evening’s meal.  My brother was here for the occasion and snapped this photo of me preparing our lemon rosemary chicken.

Slicing into the prized fruit.

The meal was delicious, as most meals showcasing lemons tend to be.

Will there be a lemon in 2011?  I’m not sure.  Here is the tree in early December, loaded with fragrant blossoms.

Lemon tree preparing to burst with blossoms, early December.

Blossom of the Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree.


And here is the tree now, noticeably void of blossoms and tiny green baby lemons.

Lemon tree, early January.

In order to justify the $9.99 spent on this lemon tree, it needs to grow about 19 more lemons.  But then, if we are being honest with ourselves, we gardeners can forgive a multitude of monetary sins in exchange for the pleasure our plants give us.  This lemon tree, though it hasn’t beared it’s fair share of fruit (yet–I’ll keep hope alive) has provided me with its beauty and perfume and in a weird way, companionship.  I tend to that plant nearly every day, and I sort of look forward to it.

Perhaps it will repay me with more lemons one day, but if not… I’ll still love it.