See these little brown thrashers in their nest, inside an orange tree? The entire tree was grown from a pip – an orange pip. We have 2 trees – 20 feet high I might add – as well as this smaller tree that Thom keeps beautifully shaped and that’s probably why these little birds made their home here. After all, you’d make your home in a place that looked like a topiary rather than a massive tree, wouldn’t you?
So when we were growing up, my father would eat an orange, a grape, an avocado (you get the point) and push the pip… seed … stone… whatever was inside the fruit, into a small container of potting soil. Sometimes those containers were proper terracotta pots, sometimes they were old butter containers, or a clean yoghurt pot. My mother wasn’t always happy about this, but we like to think it was him starting the whole recycling movement, he was a man before his time, back in the day…
We had a conservatory off the kitchen, with a glass roof and big windows and all those pots flourished in that room. As you know London is not known for its sunshine, but with Dad’s green thumb and attentive care, that room became a regular jungle. He started giving away beautiful, green potted plants to family, friends, his clients, even the milkman got one when he found out the milkman had a wife and it was their anniversary. There I go, off with the fairies again…
When my mother passed away, Dad left the magical Dickensian atmosphere of Christmas in London
and came to Tallahassee, Florida for Jesus’ earthly birth. (Did I mention it’s also absolutely freezing in London at Christmas time?). And he continued eating fruit and pushing pips and seeds into little containers of potting soil….
He’s been gone for almost a decade now. And not only have his pips sprouted, they’re as tall as a bed and breakfast, home to brown thrashers birds, and creating beautiful orange blossom fragrance all over Timberlane Road…well maybe just our little section of Timberlane Road if you inhale really deeply.