Thursday, August 31, 2006

Repeat after me...

I live in a desert. I live in a desert. I live in a desert. I have absolutely no business lusting after citrus trees.

Of course, this comes from someone who has had oak trees in the spare refrigerator so absolutely no business doing something is a mightily relative thing. It also means that I will go after impossible dreams on occasion. After all, the raspberries do do well when the irrigation system is working properly.

This new passion has some odd roots, one of which is the recipe for Duck in Citrus sauce that I tried several years ago. It took two days to make (day one for the sauce, day two for the actual duck) and it was delicious. It took Valencia orange, lime, lemon, white grapefruit, and that year I found some blood oranges and threw them in for good measure. That recipe was my introduction to the fact that there are other oranges out there than your standard navel. This year I finally put two and two together and realized that my step-father-in-law works for a college that has a citrus program. Curiousity led me to the website, website led me to links, and links led me to find out that this university had something like 900 different types of citrus running around their agricultural program. Ye cats. They aren't all oranges and they aren't all edible, but still...! Some of their trees have a story, some don't, and it is all fascinating. They do not, however, sell trees to the general public. It appears that they don't sell trees at all -- they sell the budwood from their established trees, and the grower grafts this onto rootstock. It cuts down on the time needed to get fruit going and makes for a less thorny tree. It might have been possible (after a finer perusal of the rules) for a civilian to get the budwood but that leaves me with a: establishing rootstock, and b: trying to graft. Me and grafting -- this isn't a combination that is likely to be realized anytime soon.

I soon discovered that there are four citrus states in the Union, one of which I reside in, and you canNOT import citrus into them without a signed statement from a Divine Authority, thunderbolts and miracles a plus. Not having those connections it seemed that some of those rare citrusy treats would be beyond the reach of, my gardening skills. Unfortunately for some trees' futures, I did in fact find some sources. The only thing that saves these poor plants (for now) is a somewhat moth-infested pocketbook and limited space. I either need to build a greenhouse or I need to Bonsai a bunch to fit them in the house -- along with my other space-hungry hobbies and avocations. This place has most of what I want, and in dwarf form too. Still looking for a place that sells Tarocco or Changsha, but I only started searching yesterday :).

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