Our lemon tree
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
Poor embattled tree. House had tenants for years. One idiot WIREd the tree to a stake! The following tenants left the branch to grow over the embedded wire.
Discovered Treasure for June is the established lemon tree. Permaculture food. I can pick a few lemons from our tree year round!
|Discovered Treasures in our False Bay garden|
Lemon and carob trees
Shrubby Marble Chips and Plectranthus
Your chosen plant for June?
Pam in the Poconos has picked a vase of mock orange for its fabulous scent!
Donna in Upstate New York brings dusky pink milkweed to her caterpillars and hummingbirds.
When I first saw the tree, it was overwhelmed by next door's hedge pouring over, and a pair of Australian brush cherry monsters (from That Hedge). One feisty branch was reaching up for a corner of sunlight, and remains the most vigorous.
We had the invasive aliens removed. We removed the stake and I cut the wire. I removed the dead and entangled branches, one by one, giving the tree a chance to recover. I lifted the elbowing and shouldering and poke you in the eye lower branches, also the way too high to pick from branches battling to sun. As I harvest each fruit, I tidy THAT branch.
Once the Ungardener had laid the paving slabs, the tree had to be altered to fit. For months he muttered about being whacked on the head by lemons as I waited for harvest.
I have a final ugly elbow and a fresh set of reaching for heaven branches. I have achieved a graceful interesting trunk with a twisty fan of branches. A focal point, both when you step out of the kitchen and gaze down Cornish Stripe through the frame of the washing pergola to a glimpse of mountain, and when you walk down the other side to Froggy Point where the barrier of That Hedge is a backdrop for my lemon.
Our tree has bugs or fungus beneath the leaves, which sunbirds and white eyes appreciate. At the garden club Harry Goemans Garden Centre man explained if you use systemic poison, you must wait 6 months to harvest. Shriek of indignation from the lady behind me. Silent screams from me about 6 months of toxic waste lemons. Why, if you use the lemon zest would you use an oil-based poison laced thru that fragrant lemon oil? Or a systemic poison, IN the lemon juice?!
We went on our first hack (with the Friends of Silvermine every first Saturday). Black wattle seedlings (from Australia) already as tall as I am a year after the fire. I pulled the smaller seedlings and have the, wrapped around my arm for traction, bruise to show for it. He used loppers and a bow saw (how strange was that to carry them into a nature reserve!) with poison on the stumps. But singing while they worked were the 3 men with tree poppers. I tried - even I - could remove a sapling!
|We hiked up and over that ridge|
carrying our tools in Silvermine
Cape Town's dam levels are 30%! We hope fervently for rain this winter, but I anticipate more severe garden watering restrictions next summer. Perhaps a simple grey water system to harvest the washing machine water for anything except acid-loving fynbos and pots?
We live on False Bay. Satellite view shows an alarming patch of 'Astroturf' green, as if the Clovelly Country Club uses the Silvermine River to irrigate its greens. Our priority in a mediterranean climate with long hot summers and a city with a rapidly growing population? Western Cape farmers hoping for rain.
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