March 10, 2009

My tiny but fragrant orangery

I have always loved the idea of being able to grow citrus indoors in a greenhouse, safe from the cold of winter.  The very first orangery I ever visited was at the Château de Versailles in France.  King Louis XIV found the aroma of citrus blossoms so intoxicating that he had an enormous glass structure built to house more than 3,000 trees. This building was heated through the winter with a coal furnace, providing a warm environment where the citrus could flourish in an otherwise impossible climate.  I also toured fabulous orangeries in England and the very famous one at Mount Vernon, Virginia, the plantation home of George Washington – the first president of the United States.  My citrus collection pales in comparison to any of these, but it’s still fun to grow, fun to eat, and heavenly to smell. I also must tell you that Logees is a great source for tropical plants, including citrus.

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Citrus limon 'Striped Lemonade' - This unusual tree is especially beautiful from its variegated leaves and fragrant blossoms, to its striped fruit - lovely!