Lemon, Lime and more

Gardener:Somerset Sue

Date:28 Sep 2022

Blog Type:Vegetables, Flowers, Recipes

The fragrance of lemon, lime and citrus has to be one of my favourite aromas in the garden. I took a wander around the garden in the sunshine we were blessed with this afternoon and it occurred to me how many of the plants in our garden have that intense "citrussy" scent. Let me take you on a little tour....

Top left in my herb garden is the incredible kaffir lime. Now this is seriously intense. The leaves are used in amazing Asian dishes, especially Thai, and are often combined with chilli, fish sauce and palm sugar for the most incredible flavour combination. Usually they are thinly sliced with the middle vein removed. They also dry well and make a lovely natural air freshener.

Top Centre are two more lemon favourites also in my herb garden. Above is a lemon geranium - I've seen recipes where you put these leaves under a cake or sponge to infuse it with the lemon flavour - but to be honest I've never tried it. It has a lovely smell when you crush the leaves though, and I really like the pretty geranium leaf.

Below that is my newly planted Lemon Grass. I have had one of these growing for the past ten or so years - last year it up and died, I have no idea why. It's a really attractive grass/flax like bush which has intensely flavoured (and perfumed) roots which also are a popular ingredient in Asian cooking.

Top right. These are the two citrus trees that are at the eastern end of our vegetable patch. The orange is prolific and every year we have had a great crop in spring, you can see that this year is no exception. However I think they might be a bit smaller than usual which makes me think I really need to harvest the whole crop this year and let it get a bit of energy back. Other than feeding them to the grandkids and putting them in SH's lunch, my favourite way to use oranges is in an orange, roasted kumara and walnut salad... the taste of summer right there!

The other citrus in this picture is a Meyer lemon which at this time of the year just keeps on giving, and giving, and giving! We have made so many lemon cakes, slices, balls, puddings and yummy lemon chicken. We have given so many away to friends, we've juiced them which the SH loves in either tap or soda water and we've frozen lemon juice iceblocks which to be honest we'll probably never get round to using because there'll be more on the tree!!!!

Middle Left This is the new growth on our Okitsu Mandarin. I can't show you the fruit because we have eaten them all. They are quite a large mandarin, superbly sweet and super easy to peel. The only downfall would be quite a bit of pith, but otherwise a really lovely fruit. Our tree is only 3 years old and we got around 3 dozen manderins off it this year.

Bottom Left If you want a leaf with serious lemon fragrance then this is it! These are the first few new leaves on our lemon verbena. It smells like the most tangy, sherbetty, lemon lolly you have ever tasted. Our grandkids love to pick and crush it and sniff it - I think they're a bit disappointed that the taste of the leaf doesn't match the aroma. However it makes a great lemon tea and also is a great air freshener when it is dried. It's a bit of an ugly stick during the winter but has lovely leaves and a delicate white flower in the summer. I chop ours back quite severely each winter and it comes away again well in spring

Bottom Centre This is our Lime Bearss. It is the pride and joy of SH. He loves a sliver of lime in a cold beer in the summer and he also loves the lime cheesecake I make from the juice and peel of these babies. Like many limes that grow in New Zealand, these are yellow skinned, but there is no mistaking the lime flavour when you grate and juice them. Would definitely recommend.

And finally bottom right. Let me present "Lemonade". This glorious citrus was here when we bought the house and garden and it is a fabulous producer. We've had a few issues with sooty mould but the fruit is so delightful it's been worth the work to combat it. It can't be described as sweet but it has a sort of fizz to the flavour that makes it something special.

The only other lemonny item in our garden is a herb called Lemon Balm. It's a member of the mint family, has a lovely scent and makes a great tea. Being a member of the mint family it spreads quite prolifically. I had it growing in the herb garden, where it will pop up again this summer, but I tend to pull out most rogue plants in case it takes over.

Thank you for taking the tour of our citrus garden, I hope you've enjoyed it. 


Lemon, Lime and more