Monday, August 2, 2010

Citric Assets

Cruising our nearest garden centre a few weekends ago, we came across a Eureka lemon grafted on dwarfing root stock. This was one of the trees I was after for the front yard orchard we have planned. The rootstock "Flying Dragon" is supposed to make the tree productive earlier and only grow to around 2m tall, the perfect size for the available space. We also picked up a half metre diameter pot, with a pretty black crackle glaze, on sale for $30. Bargain! They also had some similar orange and lime trees but I decided to hold off until checking whether they were suitable varieties for our area. Anyway, once home I checked out the supplier of the lemon tree and found they had Washington Navel oranges and Tahitian lime trees and their nursery was open to the public. So, the next weekend we headed up to Dural to check it out. The nursery bloke had to have a hunt around to find some, they didn't have too many citrus left this late in Winter, but managed to track down some decent specimens. He apologised that they were a bit daggy-looking, but what citrus aren't at this time of year? Actually, I think they look fine.

Orange, lemon and lime trees in their pretty colour-coded containers.

Citrus are a pretty safe option in our climate, enjoying a hot Summer and mild Winter. In our North-East facing garden with the brick house behind them they should power along. Our next purchase though is pretty high risk..


Crazy as it sounds, we're going to try and grow apples in a nearly coastal, not-very-cold-at-all climate. You see apples require a certain amount of chilling over Winter in order to fruit. Being only around 12km from the coast means we seldom get frosts, and being in a built-up area also does not help either. Knowing this I've selected varieties with about the lowest chilling requirement there is: Granny Smith and Pink Lady. Apples also need pollinating partners to fruit successfully, hence the pair of them. These are also grafted onto dwarfing root stock as we really don't need any 5m tall trees. If all else fails I'll dig them up again and give them to someone a little further inland. I'm still not sure whether to prune them into the traditional and pretty goblet shape, or to espallier them on some sort of wire or trellis to make them more productive.

So, our visit to the nursery was indeed fruitful. Sorry. The nursery guy told me they were "..selling a lot of fruit trees rather than boring ornamentals since the revolution started". Heh heh! There was also a really nice doggy there.

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