I learned a lot about flora and fauna on my trip to California over the weekend.
Do you know, for example, how to respond when approached by a mountain lion? You should not fall down to the ground and expire
, my first plan of attack. You should be large and shout. Good life advice.
I also learned a lot about berries that we just don't have in Minnesota: all kinds of variations of blackberries, like dewberries, ollalieberries, and especially marionberries. Some people in California love marionberries! (A marionberry cobbler is delightful.) Nat's backyard also features a persimmon tree, an apple tree, and a grapefruit tree. Needless to say, I'm envious.
But one of my favorite parts about California are the lemon trees. Lemon trees!! This is so foreign to me. Lemon trees in Minnesota would keel over and die as soon as the State Fair came and went, I think. But in California, you look at a regular old tree with nice green leaves in somebody's backyard, and then, boom! You notice that it's filled with beautiful, bright, luscious yellow lemons.
The other fabulous detail about lemon trees that I discovered is that their leaves smell so citrusy--like the fruit itself, but somehow even better. Once one picks a lemon leaf and sniffs it for a certain very long duration, its scent fades. But then one can tear the leaf into small sections, and the smell comes back!
I'd like to do some research into reconfiguring American gardening zones to bring a lemon tree into my life year-round. But if sustaining mint and basil are significant challenges, it doesn't bode well for my chances with the lemon. I will hold the lemons and its leaves close in my memory.