I have many bigger trees in my garden. I have bushier trees, taller trees, and even trees with more flowers on them. The primary fragrance I associate with my garden though is the unbelievably sweet citrus scent from my little Meyer lemon tree.
I first learned about Meyer lemons decades ago when I wrote an article about container citrus trees. I included the Meyer lemon tree since it was ranked among the top three in the gardener poll I was describing. A cross between a lemon and an orange, the Meyer lemon fruit is bright yellow like a lemon but sweet enough to eat raw.
It wasn’t long after that when I came upon a sale of lemon trees in a local discount store. I went to see what they offered and there, wrapped in a cloud of citrus scent, I found a few tiny Meyer lemon seedings, less than a foot (31 cm.) tall. They were inexpensive, so I bought one and the rest is history.
Meyer Lemon Flowers
Like everyone else, I grew up singing about how the lemon tree is very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet. That did not prepare me for the amazing citrus scent of my little tree’s first blossom.
For its early years, I kept the tree in a sunny spot in my bedroom. I took good care of it, and it grew, outgrowing one pot and then another as the first year passed. Finally, the little plant developed a bud that took its time opening. One morning I woke up and the room was filled with the most beautiful fragrance, sweet indeed but still lemony. The Meyer lemon flower had bloomed.
Lemons in the Garden
In time, my little lemon tree grew up and was ready to move out of the house. I put a larger container in a sunny spot outdoors and transplanted the lemon tree into it. It rested for a few months, then began producing flowers again.
It’s been outside for years now and it blooms year-round. Walking through the garden, I always catch a whiff of the beautiful lemon flowers.
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Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.
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