Lemon tree produces its own holiday ornaments
One day this fall, Barbara Gallant of Newry was in the grocery store when she saw a sign that said, “Large Lemons.”
“I was snickering,” she remembers. “Large lemons? They don’t know what a large lemon is!”
The produce people might want to visit Gallant and her eight-year-old, eight-foot-tall indoor lemon tree.
It’s currently in full fruit, boasting lemons that are approaching grapefruit size.
“People ask me what I feed it,” she says. “I tell them, ‘water.’”
She got the tree as a five-inch seedling from her nephew, who has a greenhouse and a green thumb. Barbara had been visiting him at his home in Caribou, and shortly before she left, he asked if she would like a little tree.
She agreed to take it. “We had the car full of stuff. So I had to hold the tree in my lap the whole way home,” she said.
For the next seven years not much happened, other than the tree got steadily taller. But she didn’t really expect much. She had been told lemon trees need to be at least seven years old before they bear fruit.
Over that time, Barbara developed a love-hate relationship with the tree, as it dropped leaves on her living room carpeting and seemed to generally be in the way.
“Some days I’d get so disgusted, and I’d say ‘I’m going to get rid of it’ – but I didn’t,” she said.
Then this past summer, she decided to put the tree out on her deck, where some pollinating bees apparently found its blossoms.
Since then the tree has popped out more than a dozen lemons that keep getting bigger and bigger. “They grow really fast,” she said.
Her neighbors stop by to marvel. One, said Barbara, “gasped when she saw the lemons.”
Her two sons have each asked for a lemon to use in a pie.
Barbara also plans to make a pie - or two. “There’s more than enough juice in one of those lemons for a pie,” she said.
The largest fruit grow near the bottom of the tree. She’s a little worried about what will happen when one of her sons, who has a Labrador Retriever, comes to visit.
“I’m afraid she may knock them off with her tail,” she said.
Barbara said she may have to turn the tree around, in order to point the lemons away from the center of the room.
But moving it with 14 or so heavy hanging lemons is no easy task, she said.
There was also the question of what to do with it this holiday season.
She usually puts up her Christmas tree where the lemon tree sits.
But Barbara had a solution. And it’s one whoever came up with the saying, “When life gives you lemons ...” would appreciate.
“I don’t think I’ll have to get a Christmas tree,” she said. “I’ll just put tinsel on the lemon tree.”