|It was just so young and innocent|
I bought a Eureka lemon tree in autumn 2007, soon after we moved in - it was on special for $23 at Bunnings, and for that price, it was a very lucky thing I didn't end up with a small orchard. I also picked up a pot slightly larger than the root-ball, figuring that it wouldn't be long before I'd have it in the ground and everyone would be happy. Little did I realise that it would be over three years before it would move out of that pot. Lesson one: Never buy a tree you don't already have a hole for.
|Oh so close to the ground, but still in the pot|
|In the ground, finally (August 2010)|
|Doesn't look espaliered, does it? (October 2012)|
In August 2010, the lemon finally made the ground, in a place I never would have imagined three years earlier. I planted it in a recently made garden bed against the eastern fence - which was built over the top of a water easement. The soil is relatively shallow, but that's perfect for shallow-rooted citrus. My plan was to espalier it along the fence to wisely use the space in this walk-through garden bed.
I don't know where the time has gone, but I noticed last week that two years had passed - and this sad old lemon was still sitting there against the fence waiting for some form. Weighted down with fruit again, and growing wild and barely stronger than the day I'd bought it, something had to be done to give this poor bastard the shot at life it'd never had.
I removed all the oddly-formed lemons, then went to work building a simple frame out of a variety of garden stakes I had lying around. I then gently pulled the four healthiest looking, green wood against the horizontal stakes, and tied them down (I use Velcro strips in the garden these days for tie-downs - they're easily moveable and re-usable). Every other branch that didn't conform to the shape got the chop. Spring isn't necessarily the best time to be pruning citrus, but there's no time like the present for work this far overdue.
And maybe most surprisingly, the last thing I did was remove all the spring flowers. Because for all the pain I'd caused this tree over the years, we really don't go through that many lemons. I think I'll survive without for a few seasons.