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03 February 2011

Cultivate citrus fruit trees in containers indoors and/or outdoors


• On Monday night, I returned to Denver from Phoenix, coming from the desert to the deep-freeze.

Citrus fruits helped me make the drastic transition. I picked fragrant juicy oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, tangelos and tangerines from the backyard grove planted about 30 years ago by my sweetheart’s Uncle Jack. Juicy and flavorful, these Paradise Valley fruits tasted far better than any I buy in Denver. This citrus tasted as if the fruit had actual sunshine contained within every cell. Just peeling them released zest enough to scent a room. The taste on the tongue? Indescribably intense.

In aromatherapy, citrus scents stimulate joy.

I tasted happiness, indeed, wandering through branches laden with vividly colorful fruits against the blue desert skies.

“The longer they stay on the tree, the juicier and sweeter they get,” Uncle Jack explained.

Fortunately, I had packed relatively lightly. My suitcase weighed exactly 50 bounds when I put the large grocery sack of citrus fruit into my luggage. The fruits helped me make a transition from the warm desert to the Mile High City’s record low temperatures.

My indoor citrus grove: 2 limes, 1 lemon

Back home in Denver, near the French doors, three potted citrus plants bear blooms and fruits. Two ‘Bearss’ limes and a Meyer lemon are in their third winter indoors. They prefer the hot, full sun patio in my secret garden in summer. But inside, they add an element of the exotic. The flowers are beautiful and perfumed. The fruits come in handy for mixing up a shaker of lemon drop martinis or a bowl of guacamole or other dishes calling for lemons or limes.

• Here's a story I wrote for The Denver Post: "Pucker up and enjoy citrus delights"

• Here's an entry I wrote for my Examiner.com garden page: Grow citrus in pots

• And another Examiner.com entry: "Potted lime will sweeten your garden and home"

• Fresh citrus can act as a natural air-freshener, but for when you don't have the real thing on hand, try Watkins Lemon Citrus concentrated, non-aerosol room spray. Watkins has other lemon products, too, including a hand salve ideal for green thumbs. To support local Denver distributors at www.watkinsonline.com/windler and, if you will, tell them Colleen sent you.

Citrus have the juice. And you can even feast your eyes by piling vivid orange and green and yellow fruits piled in a bowl as an appealing centerpiece, too. Vitamin See for the soul.

Colleen Smith’s debut novel Glass Halo, set in Denver, was a finalist for the Santa Fe Literary Prize and was praised in The Bloomsbury Review. The novel is available online and through your favorite bookstore.

To learn more, visit FridayJonesPublishing.com and GlassHaloNovel.com, become a friend on Facebook, or follow FridayPublisher on Twitter.

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