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Here it is, March, and those pesky nasturtiums are still at it. They’ve been blooming all winter, a few at a time, and now that we’ve had a day or two of sprinkles, and a day or two of sprinklers, the blossoms are out in force. I’ve spent all day tearing out vines just so I could get close enough to the orange tree to pick a couple of handfuls for juice.

I’m sad to say that this tree, clear at the back of our lot, does not have truly great fruit. It isn’t bad fruit, but it always paled in comparison with the other orange tree, the one that used to grow right next to it. Now, those oranges were definitely braggable. I’d take them to work by the bagful, and everyone in the office would rush to grab a couple before they were gone. The biggest, sweetest oranges ever . .  .and we lost them to a blight of some kind.

It seemed that it happened overnight. We looked out one morning and all the leaves had shriveled and were falling to carpet the whole area under the tree. We hurried out to save our treasure, but there wasn’t any hope. All the advice from the nursery, the neighbors, and the internet couldn’t save it. Bob, who lives on the next street over and grows all his own fresh produce, said we had the working compost pile too close to the trunk. Maybe, but it had been in the same spot for years with no trouble. We moved it anyway. No good.

The blight didn’t touch the sour orange tree. Life just isn’t fair.

I have a new navel orange tree now. It’s a semi-dwarf, and for the moment it’s resting comfortably in a big pot on the driveway. It’s completely covered with blossoms, which smell unbelievably sweet. If the oranges fulfill that promise, the tree will have a place of honor in the well-composted triangle right outside the back door. So far, it’s relatively nasturtium-free, but I have my doubts.

Keep your eye on this space for further developments.

I’ll see you again, after the commercial.

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