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tarocco orange

If you save pips from those let me know. :) I haven’t seen them in Denmark. I have a bit of a citrus lab here I am keen to add to.

(Source: lacoumeille)

Kiwi, Calla Lily, Lavender, and Mandarin Oranges.

Before and after: the lasagna garden area is coming along! Thanks to the willow tree falling over in the hurricane, I have an abundance of wood chips: this was all grass last year! I have all of the plants for this section of the food forest now, I am just waiting for the last risk of frost to pass before I put them outside. There is a fantastic little microclimate here that allows me to grow zone 8 plants, and push it to zone 9 up against the house, once I have established wind breakage further down in the yard.

The raised bed and pathway are lined with strawberries:

I’ll be putting up a huge trellis in front on the black concrete berm you can see in the first picture: there are three varieties of grape (Madelaine Sylvaner, Valiant, and Triomphe d’Alsace) planted there already, and there will also be two figs (Brown Turkey and Brunswick) between the grapes.

Behind the figs (on the trellis) will be Passionfruit and Maypop (P. edulis and P. incaranata), on the two big trellis posts, there will be Akebia quinata, or chocolate vine.

Along the side of the house, there are 10 Poncirus trifoliata (trifoliate orange) for grafting mandarin oranges

You can’t see it in this picture, but the second trellis going up will be for the espaliered “Clapp’s Favourite” Pear tree I have planted. I’ll get some help on this from my husband’s aunt, whose beautiful espaliered trees inspired it:

Behind the lasagna garden, you can see the patio & herb spiral that came together last year.

Beside the raised bed and the path are three Highbush Blueberries: (Julia - July fruiting, Augusta - August fruiting, and Septa - September fruiting). Between the blueberries are Bilberries, Crowberries, Bunchberries, and Eskimo Raspberries.

The raised beds will contain companion plants for strawberries: Egyptian walking onions (perennial), garlic, Stuttgarter Reisen onion, lettuce, spinach, and borage. Under the newspaper is a fresh layer of wormy compost, almost ready for hosting my new plants!

The tree between the raised bed and the herb spiral is a European Ash - almost 4 years old. We transplanted it last year, and this year I planted the base with Daylilies.

Somewhere between the ash tree and the herb spiral I’ll put in the Irish Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo “Rubra”), and my yellow and red witch hazels. I have to find a sheltered place for my pomegranates and jujube trees as well.

On the other side of the path are a Chilean Monkey Puzzle Tree and a Linden, but I’ll be moving them both so they can have more space out in the yard, once I fix some drainage issues with a swale: right now it’s a swamp.

So that is an update on one little section of the permanent garden! Lots to accomplish this year, but I got a good start on it last year when I began this project.

This isn’t even beginning to touch on the other forest section with a tulip tree, raspberry, ribes, mulberry, goji berri, hazelnut, elder, myrtle, sea buckthorn, and blackberries, and the patio section with three kinds of kiwis!


Lemons, pomegranates, jujube, passionfruit, quince, mandarin oranges, clementines, and wingnut trees in the kitchen window: all from seed!



Citrus; in a family garden in Doha, Qatar

Leaf pattern & flower shape(color is fine, some grapefruit flowers pink, but not that shape)in first pic looks to be something else, but curious to find out what it may be, as the others look to be something ever so tiny…

Yeah I am not sure what it was! I will find out next time we go down to visit!

Avocado, Mandarin Oranges, and Mango: finally showing me some leaves. I’ve also had Guava and Pomegranate sprout recently.

hqcreations said: lol…one of my citrus plants right now is an orange thingy. I suppose I shall find out which when it finally fruits…but Gattaca like DNA identification for plants would be so cool.

You can get it done at several labs — UC Davis had some links to labs, but it seems to be about $300 per sample!

I guess I will wait a few years, see which ones are successful (if any), and then try and find an agricultural scientist with a budget and lab privileges that would co-publish a paper on it so I don’t have to pay for it. :D As I said, there isn’t a tonne of research published on this particular issue, especially in a Northern European context.

I emailed a Dutch guy (Patrick of Bifurcated Carrots) who works with cold-hardy citrus in a lab in Holland, and he gave me some contacts to inquire about getting some cold-hardy lemons to try grafting, Apparently if you are gung-ho enough about it, Universities will often send you scion wood for free! There are some issues with citrus disease right now that make it hard to ship across borders, but they know what they are doing in terms of phytosanitary certificates at these institutions.

So that’s my tip of the day if you want interesting specimens: call it “research” and it just might be free!

God damnit I should have studied botany. What the fuck was I thinking when I enrolled in anthro?

Mandarin Oranges

I’ve planted every seed I have found in the mandarin oranges, tangerines, and clementines we have had in the house over winter (I even brought back my orange seeds from Qatar in a water bottle), and I was so worried about labelling them properly since they are all jumbled together in seeding trays. 

I then realised that they are all basically ‘mandarins’:

The mandarin orange is a variety of the orange family. Cultivars and crosses between the original mandarin and other citrus fruits include:

  • Satsuma (Citrus unshiu), a seedless variety, of which there are over 200 cultivars, such as Owari and mikan; the source of most canned mandarins, and popular as a fresh fruit due to its ease of consumption
  • Owari, a well-known Satsuma cultivar that ripens during the late fall season
  • Clementine, sometimes known as a “Christmas orange”, as its peak season is winter; becoming the most important commercial Mandarin orange form, having displaced mikans in many markets
  • Tangerine sometimes known as “Dancy Mandarin”
  • Tangor, also called the temple orange, a cross between the Mandarin orange and the common sweet orange; its thick rind is easy to peel and its bright orange pulp is sour-sweet and full-flavored

[Mandarin Orange]

I am trying to figure out if I will need to wait until they fruit to get a handle on what they are (make some sort of educated guess), or if I could at some point send them off the a lab

I am doing an experiment with grafting the best mandarin seedlings on to cold-hardened Poncirus trifoliata (trifoliate orange), and if it works, I want to be able to record which cultivars of mandarin give the best results, since the research is scant.


Trifoliate orange seedling, hardening-off in my garden




So, followers: how do you identify plants you have sown from variable seeds?

Does anyone have any experience with getting genetic testing done on their plants? What are the costs like?





wisteria bonsai by a-birdie on Flickr.

I really want to make a wisteria bonsai, but it’s so much work to train the tree, and requires such different care from regular houseplants… I think I’ll have to wait until I have a house so I can have a traditional wisteria tree in the yard ;_;

Same here! Aren’t they super pretty? And a bonsai? Hell yes!! I don’t know if I can ever really do the whole bonsai thing, I don’t have enough discipline haha. 

I have wisteria seeds but you have to soak them and scrape away the shell/husk on the outside. I think the best way would be sand paper, but I don’t have any. If anyone suggests anything else, that would be nice!

In order to be a bonsai in the Japanese tradition, it has to be trained outdoors for its entire life! I am not sure about the rules for the Chinese version of this art, Penjing (from which bonsai is derived). But, it’s good to know that is what they are called if you see them in a Chinese setting.

As far as using sandpaper on the seeds, that’s called scarification, and it’s required for seeds with a hard seed coating, like Wisteria, Magnolia, and Smoke Bush. You can do it with sandpaper, but you can also do it with boiling water, or a razor. If you do this, it can mean the difference between waiting a few months for your seed to germinate, or waiting a few years! Scarification allows water to permeate the tough seed coating, thus bringing the seed out of dormancy.

Yeah, I don’t think I’m knowledgeable or disciplined enough yet to even attempt creating bonsai… I am, however, adding wisteria to my landscaping list for my future house! They’re soooo beautiful!

And thanks for the cool information, hyggehaven! 

I think anyone could do it! There are a number of tutorials online, and experimenting is one of the easiest ways to learn! The wiki article on bonsai is also very comprehensive.

I’ve been thinking of making a citrus bonsai: the tiny fruits make me happy.

I’m trying a leaf cutting with a kumquat: I have read that citrus will produce roots it you score the main veins and coat the exposed wound in rooting hormone (which I did), but often the rooted leaf won’t produce stems.

Has anyone had any luck with this method using citrus plants?



I’m inspired by mamisgarden's pics of an indoor setup: here is my main space, and I also have a grow-lamp for starting seedlings under my sewing desk in the Ham radio bunker (ie. 3m x 1m ex-storage room I share with my husband, for all hobbies, very crowded); although, I think it is too cold out there as nothing has started growing. Now I keep all of the cacti and rooting cuttings (on a reptile heating pad) out there so they have enough light over the winter.

I am grateful the in-laws put up with me taking up all of the windowsills. I re-pay them in vegetables and landscaping.

such a great setup! and your plants look really healthy, are those citrus in the second last pic?amd behind them? that picture is beautiful, so warm and vibrantly greeen/yellow!
And what’ s below the clothshanger? looks familiar but i cant seem to remember

Those are my citrus experiments! I have cuttings from kumquats, and seeded meyer lemons, persian limes, mandarin oranges, and navel oranges from grocery-store produce! I am on the lookout for Kaffir limes and Buddha’s hand citron (2)!

I think I have properly tagged most of them (I think they are very photogenic, so please excuse the sheer number of photos I have taken of my orange seedlings):

Behind the citrus is a young pomegranate, which I recently pruned so it would take a tree-like form. I put the pruned limbs back in the soil with rooting hormone to see if any of them would take.

The one on the hanger in the newspaper basket is Akebia quinata or chocolate vine — a japanese plant that is used as a fruit, vegetable, and fibre crop.

As per the photo, I have actually started putting a little watermark on my photos, because as soon as I started borrowing my mother-in-law’s Nikon when I take planty photos, they have started showing up in other spots around the web! I put the name of the small company I am hoping to get running once I have some capital to inject into it — biodiverseed.

The lemon trees: 9-month progress from seed.

Your blog and your photography are both great. Where are you gardening?

Asked by hyggehaven


hi thank you so much! i am in san francisco. love your blog too. where are you? cheers!

I am a Canadian transplant, living near rainy Copenhagen! I am seriously envious of your Californian sun (even if you do have that chilling San Francisco fog). I remember falling in love with San Francisco when I was 15 and first visited it. I still remember I had saffron gelato at a restaurant called Persimmon on my 16th birthday; it all seemed so strange and exciting coming from a semi-rural community in the Canadian prairies. 

You have introduced me to a new kind of citrus with the Buddha’s Hand Citron. I will definitely have to try and find one!

Do you do seed swaps? I have some stuff I could send your way if you happen to have citrus seeds. :)


i made a basic red thai curry paste from scratch last night. this time i went to great lengths to stay faithful to the recipe’s ingredients, hunting down kafir lime and cilantro roots.

kafir lime zest is bitter, dense and slightly medicinal, contrasting beautifully with its bright and pucker-inducing juice. the cilantro root provides a nice base, harmonizing the galangal, lemongrass, shallots, garlic and chilies. the paste is delicious and will serve us well for many dishes. it is definitely becoming a staple.

Oooh this reminds me: Kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix) is hardy in zones 9-11. Next time I see them I am buying 5 and praying for viable seeds. Maybe it’s possible to breed a new kind of wrinkled limequat with them! 

The ongoing orange tree saga.