An Orange

About a year and a half ago, we bought a Washington Orange potted tree (Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck) to add to our indoor container garden. (In its pot, it’s now about 5-feet tall.) Once we got it home, it went through several blooming cycles, although the the fruits never grew more than a centimeter or so before falling off. Then, there was one, one orange that was hanging on…

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I posted this image on Instagram the day after the 2016 election and the orange was suddenly embued with symbolic significance:

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From there, I never moved the tree (I tend to rotate my plants to give them more equitable lighting) and avoided all pruning and aggressive cleanings so as not to disturb or upset its needs. Between blooms it would seem that all of the tree’s energy was going toward the one fruit. Leaves fell off, leaving bare or near bare branches. Just when I would think, okay, this fruit is killing the tree, suddenly a new burst of growth would emerge with fragrant white flowers.

Still, the one fruit hung on. As it got heavier, its branch bowed under the weight. Its branch began to wooden, to strengthen. Still, I was nervous, so I propted the branch up with a bamboo crutch.

The orange did hang on through its ripening. I agonized over how to use this precious fruit once it had matured — garnish for an old fashioned led the list of possibilities. At the same time, I worried that it would be no good.

We harvested it on Friday, September 29th. I decided to peel and eat it — plain and simple.  It was the juiciest, sweetest orange I have tasted.

 

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