I'm in the middle of working on my Winter Citrus Garden Project, so that I can put my lemon, lime and mandarin plants into the ground this coming spring. They are too big for their pots, and need their own space to expand into in the garden. Of course this means that from next autumn and winter I will need to protect them from frosts and snow while living outside, but I've figured that this a problem for future me to sort out...
For the past couple of months I've been planning, and then preparing three areas of the garden for the citrus plants will move into. My citrus plants currently spend spring, summer, and the first part of autumn sitting on the patio, which pretty much gets all day sun. I love the way the plants look in our brick patio, especially when they're in flower and fruiting, it makes the area feel very Mediterranean, so I decided that the plants had to go into the ground near this space.
The mandarin tree is quite wide, so it will be going into the position previously held by the rhododendron bush behind the fence as shown in this photo.
So far over the winter, hubby and I have chopped down the rhododendron behind the fence, and more recently I've water blasted the fence for painting. I don't particularly like rhododendron plants, the main reason being that rhododendron nectar is actually poisonous to Tui, and can kill them, which is why I didn't mind getting rid of it. My plan here is to paint the fence white, not only will the fence and mandarin provide a pop of colour in the garden, but it will also make the fence easier to see in the dark while driving down the driveway...
The next area to prepare, is for the lemon tree. As seen in this photo, the lemon tree is small and round, and it will be moving sideways as seen in this photo, into the herb garden bed under our kitchen window.
Last week I tidied up the herb garden for the winter, and left the thyme and rosemary plants to stay where they currently are (after giving them a big hair cut). The lemon tree will sit in the middle of the herb garden as seen in the photo below, and the mint and saffron plants will sit on the right.
The last area to prepare is for our lime bush. It is much more bushy and bigger than the lemon bush, and it will be going into the spot where the small Japanese maple tree used to be.
We really loved the Japanese maple tree, that you can see in the photo above, but the previous owners put the tree in a bad spot in the patio. The base of its trunk was right up against the brick wall for the driveway, and as it got bigger, its roots and trunk started damaging both the fence and the patio. Half the tree also stuck out into the driveway, making driving out of the garage tricky at times.
Over the last couple of weeks we chopped the Japanese maple tree down, and then spent a lot of time digging up as much of the roots as possible, in order to ensure there would be space to put the lime bush into. This part of the project actually took way more work than I first envisioned, so I feel like I'm somewhat behind in the project at this stage.
The next step in this winter citrus gardening project is to paint both the fence, and also the board holding back the soil where the lime tree will go. And given that it's winter in Dunedin, and it's rare that the temperature will be above 10˚C long enough for paint to dry and cure, this step will only happen on a sunny day with a warm north westerly wind, no doubt. This may take weeks to happen, so in the mean time I'll continue to work on other garden projects.
What winter gardening projects are you up to? I'd be interested to find out.
Have a wonderful day