You know a boyfriend is worth keeping when he gives you a Meyer lemon tree for Christmas (that’s it, above, sitting awkwardly in the middle of the room in order to receive maximum light).
I was so excited to receive this gift, not only because it meets all my green standards but because my mother happened to buy me an ice cream maker — so, if all goes according to plan, I will eventually be able to make 0.02-mile organic lemon sorbet.
I named my tree Meyer, for obvious reasons, and immediately starting tending to it; the main problem is that I have no idea how to tend. Looking at the two-foot-tall tree, which has one teensy, scrappy lemon growing as of now (it’s still green), common sense told me to wipe off the leaves with a moist cloth, give it some water and put it under as much light as possible. But honestly, folks, I’m nervous. I screwed up my tomato plant last summer, and I just don’t think it’ll be any easier caring for an entire citrus tree, especially not in Toronto, in the middle of winter, where it’s cold, dry, and dark as of 5 p.m.
Also, recently, I noticed some furry mold on top of the soil, and began to panic. There weren’t any bugs or anything and it didn’t seem overly moist, but I wasn’t sure what to do. Then, yesterday, a leaf fell off, and it was like some small, green, non-threatening and yet traumatizing memento mori. Last night, I actually had a nightmare that Meyer turned grey, withered, and died, and it was all my fault.
Maybe I’m overreacting. After all, the florist I went to see at the end of my street told me that Canadians often worry too much about their plants during the winter, and what they should really do is just keep it watered, give it light, and not bother fertilizing or transplanting or anything. In fact, his exact words were: “Don’t over-love it.”
But I have so much arboreal love to give! I’m a certified tree-hugger for crying out loud! Sigh. Anyway, we’ll see how it goes. I’m hoping Crunchy, who’s just brought in her Meyer lemon tree for the winter, will be able to help me out if I run into major trouble.
In the mean time, anyone got any advice?