Friday, August 16, 2013

Lemon Tree

I had planned to write about more summer herbs today,
but my sister reminded me about the "lemon tree" song
and her memories of playing a lemon tree in a school play.
So I decided to write a little about the song, 
and a little about the tree.

So first, the lemon tree song.
the song "Lemon Tree" was written by Maine resident Will Holt.
Some sources say the song is an adaptation of a Brazilian folk tune
arranged by José Carlos Burle in the 1930s.
The lemon tree song has been a popular recording choice since the 50s,
and it was the theme song for introducing Lemon Pledge in the 1960s.
Here's the sheet music for a recording of the song by Peter, Paul, and Mary:

A friend commented recently 
about her (unsuccessful) attempts to grow a lemon tree.
So I thought I'd read up a little on lemon trees,
especially since I would like to grow one too.

Container-grown Meyer Lemon trees 
that are appearing in garden centers now 
are always advertised as growing up to look like this:

Unfortunately, they usually end up looking like this,
if they retain their leaves at all:

So how to grow one of these?
Here are some tips from
Meyer Lemon trees need lots and lots of light.
They need protection from the wind 
and a temperature range of 50 to 80 degrees.
A large pot with high quality potting soil.
Most importantly, consistently moist soil.

Here are the things that will kill a potted lemon tree:
Too much water, too cold, too much or too little fertilizer.
And too little light.

It sounds so easy, 
so I'm tempted to give one a try out in my breakfast room
or maybe my living room, two rooms that get a lot of light.
My mother was given a Meyer Lemon tree by her sister
and her plant grew vigorously and produced a lot of fruit.
I wish I had asked her how she had been taking care of it,
but her kitchen had lots of light from east-facing windows.
I don't know if she ever put the container outside,
maybe in the summer.

I learned something else about lemon trees--
they actually grow wild in Virginia.
More about that tomorrow.

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