Zesty Lemons
Julie Parker
My interest in gardening & wildlife stemmed from childhood days spent working in the garden with my parents & reading books on anything from robins to giraffes. As time has moved on these influences have stayed with me inspiring the creation my own garden & leading to interests in fish keeping & the natural world around me. I still love to read & hope that the knowledge I gain will make topical reading through these articles.

Zesty Treats

Give your patio a Mediterranean makeover with the delicious scent, delicate flowers and juicy fruits of a lemon or lime tree.

Lemon trees bring a taste of the Med to a warm, sunny patio or south-facing garden. Or try a Kaffir lime, which produces knobbly green fruit and is grown in the same way as a lemon. Use the spicy leaves to add a zing to Thai curries. As well as offering fruit, citrus trees make attractive pot plants and their white flowers fill the air with a heady scent. They are also self-fertile, so just one plant is needed to produce fruit.

Lemon and lime trees are not hardy, but if you offer them some protection over winter in a cool, bright room indoors or a heated greenhouse, they will continue to produce fruit all year round. However, they don’t like it hot in winter, and a centrally heated room or conservatory will be too warm. Around 12°C is ideal.

Potting up

Choose a large ornamental pot for your citrus tree and check that it has holes in the base, as good drainage is essential. Plant in specialist citrus compost or John Innes No 2, and check that the tree is at the same level when planted as it was in its original pot– covering the stem in compost may cause it to rot. Keep the tree well watered and place it in a bright area indoors on a tray of gravel, and on pot “feet” in a sunny sheltered spot outside in summer. As you will have to move your tree each year, consider investing in a pot trolley to save your back from injury.

Keep your tree productive by feeding it fortnightly from March to October with summer citrus fertiliser and with winter citrus fertiliser every fortnight for the rest of the year.

Refreshing Homemade Lemonade Recipe

This delicious drink takes no time to make and tastes unlike anything you can buy in the shops. Drink as it comes or add a splash of vodka!


  • 4 unwaxed fresh lemons
  • Caster sugar to taste
  • 1 litre (2 pints) water
  • Sprig of mint, Vodka and ice (optional)

How to make

  • Cut the lemons into thin slices.
  • Place slices in a bowl and cover with boiling water.
  • Add a few tablespoons of sugar and mix to dissolve.
  • Leave to cool, then remove the lemon slices. Add more sugar to taste.
  • Chill for an hour or two.
  • Add a sprig of mint and a slice of lemon to garnish.