Life and my Garden, Plant Stories

The Miracle Lemon Tree


Well there’s this little miracle that happened with my lemon tree.

No I haven’t posted the wrong picture-it’s one that will set the scene of what this section of my garden looks like this morning, and pic 2 will explain.

When my husband and I bought this place 28 years ago, the garden didn’t exist. It was weeds posing as a massive lawn, an ancient dying plum tree, and a lemon tree with a falling down fence.

Three years ago on one of my most upsetting days in the garden, I had to cut down that lemon tree I had loved for so many years, and bought back from the brink of death twice.

I left a small piece of trunk as a little memorial marker.

In this last year (worst drought on record) I knew I had made the right decision for it. It was just a stump for two years.

Yesterday evening I was looking at something else nearby and noticed what you see in the pic below.


After two years as a stump it’s decided to rejoin the citrus party that is my backyard.

I couldn’t believe it at first. Then tears welled up.

I believe backyard Australian lemon trees weren’t grafted back then, so I’m hoping I’m looking at pure lemon tree.

I’m going to pour love on the tiny shoot this season, and see what happens.

At the worst (if it’s just root stock) I’ll graft another type of citrus onto it. The tree is too sentimental to say goodbye to, twice.

Today it will be 33C. I don’t think the lemon tree has chosen an easy upcoming season to rejoin me…. but I’m glad it has.

The lemon tree was one of the few things here before I arrived. Wouldn’t it be awesome if at least part of that wonderful tree, outlasts me…


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#mygarden #poppies #lemon#cutflowers #flowers #lemontree#flowergarden #miracles#organicgardener #trees#backyardfruittrees#gardeningaustralia #permaculture#vintagetrishgarden

Life and my Garden, Plant Stories

The Time to plant Fruit Trees is Yesterday!

When people ask me when they should plant fruit trees…I say…’yesterday!’

I say this because fruit trees can take years to prosper – for you to get ‘food results’.

For example I haven’t seen an avocado from my over 12 year old avocado tree.

But let me tell you a story, because that’s not always the case…

My Spring Satin dwarf plumcot tree was bought for $16 AUD in November 2015, marked down from $45.

The tree had obviously experienced dehydration at the ‘big shed’ it came from, and looked quite sorry for itself on that overpopulated markdown shelf. It was the only plumcot there.

I knew this tree had potential with my help, because it’s genetics and nursery supplier were reputable. I had also heard only great things about this variety, to that point.

It is now 3.5 foot high and in remarkable health. It’s small stature is definitely not an indicator of fruiting ability in my experience.

The tree is planted within stone’s throw from a satsuma plum, and a nashi pear that blossom at the same time. It’s possible these are acting as pollinators or at least encouraging pollinators for this partially self-fertile fruit tree.

So far this year it has produced 850g of fruit, with average fruit mass of 18.8g.

No fruit fly, minimal water, drought tolerant, delicious tasting fruit!

While I still advise getting all your fruit trees in early  I want to show you that some are surprisingly quick to fruit!

These are the type of images I was dreaming of when I started my garden 26 years ago.

This fruit took only 3 years!

Get planting! 🌸

PS Would you like to see daily updates from my garden? See VintageTrish Instagram

#fruittrees#stonefruit #plumcot #getplanting #organic#springsatinplumcot #growyourown#growyourownfruit #nochemicals#permaculture #organicgardener#vintagetrish #garden #ediblegarden#vintagetrishgarden

Plant Stories

Collectors Have Stories


Garlic breaks ground in my garden, 2018. Planted two weeks before Easter which is my planting deadline each year (for best tasting garlic) in my part of the world.

My garlic plantings broke soil this week. When I saw this, my mind jumped to the day I brought home two proud Australian purple neck garlic bulbs – the grandparents of those shown in this photo.

It wasn’t time for planting garlic, in that summer of 2016. I had discovered a wonderful organic providore, earlier that day in the main street of Braidwood NSW. We were on the way home from the beautiful south coast after a wonderful family holiday, so my mind was probably in a carefree ‘memory-storing’ mood.

A slow wander through the organic produce and groceries there, halted suddenly when I stopped, riveted, gazing at a fresh produce shelf. My eye was magnetically drawn to two, proud, fresh, purple-neck garlic bulbs, staring at me from a natural weave basket. Some simple, handwritten cardboard signs, announcing the organic farms the bulbs had come from, added to my ‘vintagey, otherworldly’ moment. You know what I mean, I’m used to the opposite, living in the suburbs. Actually being able to pick your own produce without insulting plastic wrapping all over it, and not having to check whether what you are about to buy has a pulse, because you can see it is obviously picked fresh and brimming with life–well that’s a memorable moment!

If there is such a thing as Garlic-Speak, make no mistake I was talking it this day. Both bulbs were shouting, ‘pick me, pick me, I’m going home with you!’

In the hypnotic excitement of the moment, I wish I had taken the time to note their true names and the organic farms they came from! But no. As any ‘beyond organic’ suburban gardener knows–when you see organic garlic bulbs like those, buy them and store them in a cool, dark but dry place, until planting time. Don’t think–it is a singular, focussed, action–just buy! Why? Because if you go to a suburban supermarket or non-organic fruit shop and choose your growing stock from the sprout-retarding chemical laden imports that grace some of the chains–well, that can only end in tears. You want healthy breeding stock with a future…don’t you?

I paid a very reasonable price for these beautiful organic garlic bulbs and with a self-satisfied smile exited with a paper bag of  ‘collectors items’.  Yes, a less distracted collector would remember the garlic bulb name, not just ‘purple-neck garlic,’  but it is what it is. As a collector it’s the thrill of acquisition, isn’t it! It’s not just what you’ve purchased, it’s also the plans you have for it.

My mind was full of how these two bulbs would become many…and then the next year, many more and …and…and…how delicious and free and purple they would grow in my garden!

Two years later these little garlics I photographed, remind me exactly of their grandparents from Braidwood. Except now they have the added heritage of growing in my garden, from their parents. They’ll adapt specifically to my garden conditions and  increase in number.

This is a simple yarn, sure! ‘Not a classic anecdote is it?’ to quote good old Hugh Grant as Will Thacker in Notting Hill. They’re ONLY fairly readily-available organic Australian garlic bulbs! But they are not JUST garlic bulbs to me. Stories organise memories and give meaning to collections. They sustain and fulfil me in a way maybe collection stories of knitting needles or lego blocks, skydiving outfits or motorbikes, do for you. Or maybe you’re a gardener and you know exactly what I mean.

Point is…we each have ‘our thing’ and we all collect something. Find me even the most minimalist Minimalist and I’ll show you something they collect – it’s not always something we can see. Every human has a collection and each collector has stories.

By the way, have I told you about the new Hibiscus I bought last month? Only kidding. But yes, it’s real. And yes it happened…but it’s a story for another day! 🌸

© Trish McGill 2018