We've been in this house almost a year.
When we arrived, there was one tree in the back yard, a sad old grapefruit that had long outlived any function and had been badly neglected. At first I thought it was a lemon, until it fruited a couple of big yellow orbs, just for old times' sake. I guessed it was about forty years old, probably a relic of the time when everyone was madly eating grapefruit prompted by some idiot diet plan that was around for fifteen minutes in the sixties or seventies.
The tree was a complete mess. It was dense and impenetrable. The branches were on the ground and there was no real canopy, just a jungle of branches growing in on each other. It gave no shade. Last summer there was really nowhere to sit in the middle of those terribly hot days.
One of the first things I did when we moved in was to prune it heavily. I removed all the branches drooping to the ground and those up to about three feet up the trunk. Then I hacked my way inwards like the early explorers cutting through jungle. It was full of those citrus spikes that can take out an eye. After about a day's work, I had a set of clothes ripped to bits, scratches all over my body and a pile of grapefruit branches and debris higher than the original tree.
After that I planted some lawn seeds beneath the tree. That was almost a year ago.
Yesterday, I sat out in the back garden during the afternoon. It was hot. I sat under the grapefruit tree. It's not a sad old grapefruit any more. Its massive canopy cast a deep pool of shade over the lawn. The branches spread upwards and outwards and waved gently in the light northerly. The leaves were rich and green, that delicious pale green of vigorous new growth. Where it wasn't green, it was specked white gold with blossom. I sat on the grass and gazed up at the blossom. Bees hummed. The scent of grapefuit blossom is one of the strongest and headiest I have known. Imagine lemon blossom, but add some notes of rich honey and a dash of jasmine and you just about have it.
William crawled over, stood up against me and pointed to a grapefruit on the tree. 'Moon!' he said. He knows 'moon' - it was one of his very first words - and the grapefruit are like moons to him.
I suppose the tree will be even happier if it knows we are eating its fruit. Any one know any grapefruit recipes? Everyone I ask turns up their nose and says, 'Yuk! seventies diet fruit!'
I'll have to eat them fresh, I suppose.