Quelle Horreur!

Can you imagine my horror when I discovered that one of only two oranges on my tree had fallen to the ground unripened. I suppose it was pretty audacious to think that oranges might be able to grow in Hobart but nevertheless I thought it was possible. I have such a healthy tree, I refuse to give up just yet but I may have to accept that even though I have a wonderful warm position and micro climate, the laws of citrus might defeat me.

The lonely orange!

The lonely orange!

2 thoughts on “Quelle Horreur!

  1. To help all you crazy southern type Citrus growers, especially Christine …… here’s how to grow great fruit in Hobart, it’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
    First pick your varieties, Meyer Lemons and most Mandarine types grow well in cooler climes, however Oranges can be fussier and Grapefruit will tend to cloth themselves in a pithy skin thick enough to use in bicycle helmets.
    In England where I grew up all the old country homes had an Orangerie, this was a south facing glass roofed and walled conservatory with the north wall built of deep red double brick ( yes the colour is important and switch your souths n norths for Tassie ). The red brick absorbs the heat from the sun best and keeps your citrus comfy in winter. The plants themselves were grown in huge pots ( citrus dont need a big root run and will grow very happily in a well fertilised free draining potting mix, if the plants get too big they can take a very heavy pruning but a light prune of longer leaders each year will keep a good shape and direct more energy into the fruit ). The reason for the pots was to enable the plants to be moved out into the hottest sunniest parts of the garden in summer.
    Now while I am not advising you to build an Orangerie, I am advising that siting is everything to citrus in cooler climes so you can keep them growing longer, and growing in a large pot ( at least the size of your average pouffe ….. easily shifted by rolling them onto a length of old carpet and dragging them around) so that you can shift them into a sheltered position for winter ( frost and early morning sun are a big nono ). Finally the pot itself is best made from terracotta, painted inside with a waterbased housepaint to reduce transpiration through the clay, you can use wet sacks or whitewash to keep pot temps down in summer and sacking to insulate in winter.
    My name is not Rose but I do tend to ramble …. I just looked at your Pic Christine and it’s pretty obvious your tree is very happy, moving it or potting it would be a shame ( it has probably lost it’s fruit because it is still very young )…. there are other options however. I have seen black plastic barrels filled with water used very well to absorb heat during the day and reradiate at night next to frost tender plants and I used home made umbrellas on mine up here in the Adelaide Hills for the first few years to keep off the frost ( frost falls vertically and generally only causes problems for the 1 metre of foliage above ground level ) ….. I also planted on top of a retaining wall to help draw ground frost away and provide better drainage.
    Enough ! hope that helps …. Simon.

    • Thank You Simon. I think I do come into the category of crazy southern citrus grower and will take your suggestions on board. I am about to decimate the tree by pruning it as espalier…so maybe the shock will do it wonders.

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