I'm so excited - I feel as if I just gave birth!
I've been reading this forum for several weeks, at least enough to know I've been doing eveything wrong.
Here's my story. Our family vacationed in Spain in the summer of 2001. I loved the oranges in the patio of the Mezquita in Cordoba. They're the bitter oranges you make marmalade from, but I don't know what they're called.
I loved those trees so much I picked an orange off the ground. It looked old, and was soft, so I figured no one would miss it. When we walked back to the hotel, I washed the seeds out and wrapped them in a kleenex.
When we got back to the US, and were going through customs, my husband and kids took a different line, saying that if I got arrested, I was on my own. :) Anyway, I successfully smuggled my little dried up seeds into the US. And yes, I know I'm a horrible human being.
I planted two seeds that summer back in 2001. Since then, I have babied and loved my two oranges, but treated them all wrong. I kept them in potting soil filled with peat moss (because I figured they wanted more acid soil). I watered them with tea (again, for the acid). I left them in the dark garage from November to the end of January, but dragged them in and out of the garage to get some light during warmer days, if ever any came along.
For the most part, though, they overwintered in a dark garage with a little watery light, until the end of January. Usually they lost a lot of leaves. When they got mites, which they usually did, I dragged them into the house and we all took a shower together. After the holidays and various guests leave, I bring them into the house and park them in front of a window.
By this time, they're about 6 feet tall, in 10-12 inch pots. One is in plastic pot, the other in clay. They are really a pain to lug around, but I love them, so what do you do. My husband said it was stupid to pay so much attention to two big, unwieldy trees with nothing to show for it.
Last week I went into their little bedroom to give them water, and oh no, they were covered in little white insects. But then I looked closer - they weren't bugs, but BUDS.
And now I have two trees, absolutely covered with the most fragrant white flowers I have ever seen.
I'm going to take all the advice I've read on this forum to treat them better this year. But in the meantime, I feel like the luckiest gardener in the whole world, and I just stand there, taking in that fragrance, like the proud mother I feel like.
It's so wonderful when our plants forgive us.