Lemon 'Lisbon'

Sometimes the garden and I are like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  We carry on a dance light and graceful, a give and take of flowers and water and joy and life, and there are no stumbles and everything is right.  But sometimes the garden and I are like a light pole and a drunk, with the drunk is trying to hang on to the light post and failing miserably.  

Yesterday it was drunk meets light pole.  I saw some nice looking dwarf citrus starts in tall "tree band" pots at a big box store, and I thought, "Why not?"  And they were 1/3 off, cheap.  Couldn't pass one up.   

Things went downhill from there.  I wanted a 'Moro' Orange, picked one, noted the tag was red, and kept looking in case there was another that was better.  Most of the plants were tangerines.  They had orange tags.  I kept looking.  The lemons had yellow tags.  Already have a lemon at home, a much-loved 'Meyer Improved'.   Finally I found another red-tagged plant, and thought it was marginally better than the other, so that's the one I brought home. 

Lemon 'Lisbon'

Since the little tree's soil was dessicated, I watered it and prepped a new larger pot for it.  I want a bigger root system before I put it in the ground.   A few weeks or months in a pot and it will have more roots and a better chance in the soil.  It was then that I noticed it wasn't a "dwarf" after all.  What I saw on a tag as "Dwarf" was really the name of the grower, which was "Duarte".  Okay, so I can't read.  Oh well, why not keep it.  Can't have too many orange trees.

Then I looked some more and realized it wasn't a 'Moro' Orange, but rather a 'Lisbon' Lemon.  The tag was red, but apparently 'Lisbon' had gotten a red tag.  Okay, so I can tell the difference between red and yellow, but I really can't read.  At that point it was time to take it back and exchange it for a 'Moro'.

And I didn't.  I just didn't want to. The pot was ready.  The tags were off.  I wanted to bring something to completion.  So many things in modern living are left unfinished.  One thing about gardening that is so satisfying are those moments when something is actually done.  I wanted to get something done, even if it was the wrong thing to do. 

By now I was thoroughly annoyed and didn't want to get my hands dirty with wet itchy potting soil on a non-dwarf non-orange.  So  I stuck the "band" pot in the larger target pot, filled the area around it with potting soil without touching it with my annoyed hands, watered it wet, and removed the tree still in its "band" pot from the target pot, leaving a perfect "band" sized hole.

Lemon 'Lisbon'

Lemon 'Lisbon'

'Lisbon' lemons are about the same as 'Eureka's, I read.  The tree is more vigorous than 'Eureka' (Uh Oh.) and thornier, and grows larger, but supposedly forms a dense, highly ornamental specimen.  Dense.  I like dense.  

Then I knocked the "band" pot off of the non-dwarf non-orange, noted the roots were not bound or circled so I wouldn't have to get my hands dirty loosening the roots up (Yay!) and put the little tree into its temporary new pot.  Clean hands.  Well, at least one thing went right.  Now somehow I have to continue to make it right by finding a spot for a non-dwarf tree before it outgrows the pot.  I must I must.  The drunk and the light pole must support each other.  Why didn't I just return it?  I wanted a dwarf orange not a full-sized lemon.  And to be honest, why did I want a dwarf orange in the first place? 

Gardeners do this all the time:  get themselves in trouble, and then try to have fun getting themselves back out of trouble in a clever creative way.  How often does it succeed?   Fred-And-Ginger yesterday was not. 

Lemon 'Lisbon'


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