Lemon Trees in Tehachapi?

I believe that gardening should be fun as well as functional!

I have one plant that is in no way practical, but delights me immensely. It is my Meyer lemon tree. or should I say trees? I own two!

I have had a Meyer Lemon tree in a pot for at least ten years. I have brought it in the house during fall and winter every year, careful to not let it get left outside when the nights turn frosty. This is usually right around Halloween. My husband was very patient with me for the first several years, but slowly, as the tree grew larger, his patience waned. He was tired of snagging his clothes on the thorns as he brushed by it to sit at the kitchen table. And there were pitifully few lemons those first several years. He often lectured me that the tree was more trouble than it was worth. Maybe he was right, but the memory of the sweet smell of lemon blossoms in my grandparents back yard made me long to experience that perfume again. I was not disappointed!

That intoxicatingly sweet aroma from each little blossom would fill the kitchen each winter.One year we even got 60 (yes 60!) lemons on that little tree! As the tree slowly outgrew the available space it was banished to the garage for the cold months. I was sad! I felt bad when I realized how little it got cared for out there because when it was out of sight it was definitely out of mind.

This year brought a few changes to the front of our house including a new bed along a  portion of the foundation. There is a corner that has a warm microclimate which is supplemented by a natural gas vent that blows warm air outside at night when the gas heater is on inside. As this room is part of my Mother-In-Law’s apartment, you can be sure that heater is going through all the cold nights here in Tehachapi. This created the perfect niche for the Meyer Lemon tree, or at least I hope so! Meyer Lemon’s are among the cold hardiest, being able to withstand temperatures as low as 28 degrees Fahrenheit. It gets down to 15 degrees fahrenheit often during the coldest months so I was not sure if the heater vent would be enough to keep it warm. I decided to put some Christmas lights on it and a flannel sheet covers it when the temps dip below freezing at night. A bit extravagant you think? Probably, but if it doesn’t die it will be a unlikely addition for my garden. A little surprise makes a garden interesting!

If it does die I have another Meyer Lemon tree potted up already. It is spending its first cold season in my house this year. It is not in the kitchen, but sitting near the north-facing sliding doors that go out to my backyard deck. It is not in anyones way there, and that heavenly fragrance has been wafting it’s way through the house for a few weeks now.

I get a whiff every time I let the dog in and out, and I am sure my grandfather would approve!

 

anna-smith
About the Author

Anna Smth

Terre Verte Landscape Design began in 2003 while Master Gardener Anna Smith was the staff horticulturist for Kern Counties only botanical garden, Mourning Cloak Ranch. Read More
 

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