Tuesday, July 24, 2012

But no oranges...

My aunt's house has orange trees in the backyard.  I remember that first season that they yielded fruit, and we all grabbed ladders and picked fresh oranges for breakfast.  I remember my little cousin scrambling up there in his cartoon briefs and t-shirt and me and the others all standing on the grass squinting up at him, collecting the nubby fruit in large baskets and lugging them into my aunt's kitchen.  I don't remember if the oranges were particularly sweet or not, but I was about 16 and it was the first time I had ever picked my own breakfast.  It made quite the impression.

To me, my aunt and uncle had the ultimate luxury-- a sprawling house in a quiet neighborhood with a prolific garden.  I dreamed, when I was younger, of having a place like that.  It is somewhat funny, then, that I live in a tiny apartment in a noisy borough of New York City and my garden is at the moment an overgrown postage-stamp-sized jungle.

The roadside grove near my aunt's house... as if the yard wasn't enough.

But, despite my lack of citrus trees, I am pretty happy with my lot.  I remember when we first saw the apartment (which incidentally I was not terribly crazy about, being on the ground floor it is not exactly flooded with light) it took only one look at the yard for me to decide instantly that I had to live here.  Land in this city is quite hard to come by, and the thought of having stewardship of even a few square feet thrilled me and threw me into a haze of daydreams.  I imagined a vegetable patch, flowers climbing up the fence, an herb garden in pots leading up the backdoor.  I imagined barbecues with friends and mornings spent with coffee just listening to the birds start their days.

None of this has happened yet.  It will soon I hope.  We are working towards the daydream.  There's no room for an orange tree, but where there's dirt there must be plants (the weeds sure seem to think so).  We're looking for inspiration. 

What is the one thing you would plant in a small space?


  1. Mirjam, The NetherlandsSeptember 4, 2012 at 7:17 AM

    If you have sun during the day plant a raspberry against a sunny wall, I have one in my garden. It took me 3 years to win the battle with the snails but now I have a hand full of raspberries every day since june!

    1. Wow, great idea! I had no idea raspberries were such great producers. Do you grow them in the ground or in a container? Either way, thanks for the tip!

  2. I grow them in the ground and the plant is growing bigger and bigger. The roots grow underground so new plants pop up everytime : )


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