Sunday, November 27, 2011

The luckiest lime tree on Earth

Regular readers of this blog know how much I love and baby my in-ground lime trees. I know, I'm crazy, the lengths I go to! But there's nothing like a fresh homegrown organic lime for making Margaritas. Last year, despite our best efforts we lost the key lime in the February freeze. The Bearss lime survived, but suffered severe damage. Luckily, it rebounded in the spring and is even larger than it was last year, but bore no fruit this year at all. So I'm trying once again to protect this lime tree from tonight's possible freeze, in the hope she'll reward us with fresh limes this coming spring.

Yesterday, I went down to Zinger Hardware and bought a pop-up greenhouse: a Planthouse 5 from Flowerhouse. This is just like the one Ronny Bell raved about last year on his blog, The Lazy Shady Gardener. Jack helped me move a raised bed away from the left of the tree, then put together the greenhouse and helped me lift it up and over the lime tree.
Planthouse 5

Here she is: the luckiest lime tree in the world.
Bearss lime inside pop up greenhouse

The greenhouse is as easy to put up as a tent. The waterproof Gro-Tec material lets in 75% of available light. The greenhouse has front and back doors, both with screened inner panels. In the morning, I'll unzip the doors so the tree doesn't suffocate.
Zip off netting over door

There are two tiny Velcro doors for a hose or power cord.
Hose or power cord outlet

The 5' x 5' by 6.5' greenhouse is just big enough for the lime tree and a few potted plants like my aloes, a Meyer lemon and a couple of cacti. As the folks at Flowerhouse suggested, I'm using a small ceramic heater (purchased at Breed & Co.) to keep it warm inside. If this turns out to be a good long-term solution, I'll have to prune the lime tree to keep it small enough to use this greenhouse year after year.

Fingers crossed that this works better than our makeshift rebar-and-frost-cloth greenhouse from last year!

Words and photos © 2009-2011 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - November 2011

90% of Texas remains in Extreme or Exceptional Drought. Nonetheless, we had a bit of a sprinkle on the 6th and a goodly amount of rain today (1/2 inch in my garden). As a result, I have blooms to share.

In the vegetable garden, 'Ichiban" Japanese eggplant continues to bloom and produce small, tasty eggplants.
'Ichiban' eggplant

Each purple blossom is a potential eggplant. The sepals of the five-lobed calyx look like a little octopus to me.
'Ichiban' eggplant

In the back yard, a handful of 'Bright Lights' cosmos have popped up.
'Bright Lights' cosmos

But most importantly, the roses are back!

'La Marne' is putting out sweet little nosegays.
'La Marne' rose

'Old Blush' is as big as a hedge and covered in blossoms (and bees.)
'Old Blush' rose

It reminds me of a big rose-patterned quilt. I just want to wrap myself up in it!
'Old Blush' rose

'Dame du Coeur' has put out a dozen soft, velvety blossoms that smell like fresh rosy apples.
'Dame du Coeur' rose

The "Chrysler' rose was hit hard by heat and drought this summer, but has managed one tiny fall blossom with a big rose scent.
'Chrysler' rose

What bloomers survived your summer to tell the tale? Visit May Dreams Gardens and post all about 'em.

Words and photos © 2009-2011 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.