I introduced him a few months ago. Nothing very interesting happened with him for a while after that, save for growing a few new leaves. New leaves are nice, but they’re hardly post-worthy. The past month or so, however, has been a bit of a roller coaster with our little lemon-bearer.
As the days grew warmer, I figured that George, being a citrus tree and all, would like to step outside and enjoy the sun. So I carried him onto our balcony. I can’t say whether he enjoyed the sun, though, because all I ever saw was how much he hated even the slightest breeze. George was sort of a wuss, but it was partly my fault for keeping him cooped up inside.
I figured some tough love was in order.
I left him out there, figured he could get strong and deal with it. How was he ever going to hold lemons from those wimpy branches of his if he couldn’t even withstand a little wind? “Deal with it George,” I told him. “It’s for your own good.”
Sometimes I forget how exactly how much wind we can get up here and, one day, George got thrown around something fierce. I brought him back in. He looked awful. His leaves were hanging limply, curled into themselves. I apologized and hoped with all my might that, being back inside and able to rest, his tattered leaves would heal.
In the coming days, a few leaves lifted and I took this as a good sign. But then, the majority of his leaves began to turn brown and dry up and fall off. Occasionally, I’d walk by and pick off the obvious dead ones. I think Nilla caught onto this, because she began to reach up and pluck off leaves as well. Except she went for the healthy ones. Between losing nearly three quarters of his leaves to wind damage and our dog-turned-giraffe, George was beginning to look like a dead plant potted.
“I don’t think he’s going to make it.” Chris was endlessly pessimistic.
“Shhh,” I’d say.
But he was right. George was nothing more than a bunch of sad looking twigs and a handful of leaves. I was starting to wonder what we should do with…what was left of him. Oh, how did it all go so wrong?
And then! Then, he began to sprout new leaves. Teeny little starts at first, and then more and more all over. Chris was still doubtful (he has difficulty picturing things), but I knew this was a major turning point.
Within a couple weeks, he was starting to look like a whole new tree. And along with producing new leaves, George had decided to do something he’d never done before–he began making itty bitty buds.
These bitty rounds slowly grew into oblong gatherings of white petals.
These then popped open, for only a day or two each, becoming lovely little fragrant flowers. I attempted to use a Q-tip to move pollen from one flower to the next as they opened.
So far, two of the three have dropped off, but the last one has only dropped its petals and otherwise seems to be holding firm. Our first lemon? Maybe.
Ultimately, it seems the trauma helped to reset things and push him forward. He’s still George, only better. I think I’ll dub him George II. And as far as I’m concerned, George II can stay inside and be as wimpy as he wants….just so long as we get some lemons.