Memoirs of the Yalta Conference (Feb. 1945) read at
that US President Roosevelt made a martini for Stalin and:
"said apologetically that a good martini really should have a twist of
"At six o'clock the following morning, when I came down to the main entrance
hall, I was astonished to find, just outside the door to the anteroom, a
huge lemon tree-I counted some 200 pieces of fruit on it-which Stalin had
ordered flown in from his native Georgia so the President could serve his
martinis with a twist."
What are the chances that a lemon tree bearing
200 ripe fruit could be found in Georgia (or anywhere
else in the USSR) in the month of February? Can
lemons bear fruit in a hothouse in any month we choose?
Lemons are everbearing. If the tree will thrive and bear fruit at
all, it can have blossoms, tiny green fruit, maturing fruit, and
ripe fruit all at the same time. Because of overnight frosts, my
dwarf lemon only stops flowering in the late fall and through the
winter. Thus, I can pick lemons almost any time of the year, as
needed. This is quite unlike such citrus as oranges and kumquats,
which have specific seasons for flowering and specific seasons when
the fruit ripens.
Additionally, once the fruit is ripe, it will stay fresh for months
if you don't pick it. This is true of all citrus, not merely
lemons. Thus, I can pick lemons almost any time of the year, as
needed. Yesterday, I just picked the last of my kumquats, which
ripened five months ago.
Yes, citrus will bear fruit in a large greenhouse. Even if the
trees are not oranges, such greenhouses are sometimes called
orangeries. Commercial citrus bears best if the flowers are
pollinated by bees, but a number of flowers will set fruit even if
they are not pollinated at all (e.g., inside an orangery).
My lemon is 53 inches tall. Besides many flowers, flower buds, and
little green lemons, it has more than 20 ripe lemons. The tree is
a dwarf, but the fruit is not.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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