Lamos (Spanish for Limes) aka Bill

Note: Lamos is not actually Spanish for limes. This is an inside joke. The Spanish word for lime is actually lima.

Christmas of 2009 I got DH a lime tree. Someday, he’d like to have an orchard. He dreams of a place where plums and citrus, apples and almonds, avocados and olives all live in happy harmony with the climate. Until we discover such a place, his orchard (currently of the potted variety) must enjoy our Central Texan Climate.

Enter Bill.

Bill, the lime tree, hails from Lake Jackson, Texas. I found John Panzarella online, gave DH a coupon for Christmas for one trip to Lake Jackson to pick out a tree, and that January we were on our way. If you live anywhere near Lake Jackson, and have any interest in purchasing a citrus tree – you need to visit this man. He makes trees that grow lemons that taste like oranges, oranges that look like limes, limes without acid, pummelos, kumquats, and has an avocado tree larger than I knew they could possibly grow. He had fruit that I hadn’t heard of before, and have since forgotten the names of. All of it growing in his well-tended, greatly-loved, suburban backyard.

The first year with Bill, we got about five limes. He got a little spindly looking, so in an attempt to encourage branch development and leaf production, last January when he started to bud, we knocked off his flowers. He didn’t make a single lime last year. He did, however, grow a few new branches with a lot of leaves.

This year? He seems to be making up for it.

This photo hardly shows all of the blossoms visible from this angle – nevermind that this is only half the tree!

I wish we could put him out side again already. The honeybees adore the sweet blossoms (which smell like limes) and could likely use the nourishment this time of year. Unfortunately for the bees, we’re not yet into our frost-free time and so they must wait a few more weeks.

The buds start out small, round, and green. As they grow, they blanch into little popcorn-looking buds. Finally, they open into flowers only to have the petals fall away and a baby lime with a yellow nose appear.

I do think that this year, for the first time, we may end up with more limes than we know what to do with. Lime sorbet, perhaps? Lime juice ice cubes for drinks throughout the summer? I’ll have to look up some more ideas.

Right now, Bill is in a sizable plastic pot. This is his third pot while in our care, and it keeps him at about five feet tall from pot bottom to tree top. While we would love it if we could plant Bill out and let him grow ever larger, there are occasional freezes here that would put an end to Bill all together, so he must stay small enough to be carried indoors for 3-4 months of the year.

DH does want to see if we can prune him short, but allow him to gain some strength and heft, by increasing his pot size once again. To that end, DH put together a quick project.

Step 1: Buy a barrel cut in half.

These are from the Jack Daniels distillery in Eugene, Oregon. Having lived in Eugene previously, I wondered upon discovering this fact if they were any cheaper directly from the source. After factoring in travel, I was actually kind of surprised (and glad) they were priced at $30 each and not higher.

Step 2: Drill drainage holes.

This will prevent root rot for larger plants planted in the planter.

Step 3:

Set the barrel on its side, brace it so it doesn’t roll away, and drill handle holes.

The pot Bill currently lives in has no handles. When full of a tree and the soil necessary for the tree, nevermind if that soil happens to be moist – the pot gets heavy enough to bend the plastic when being carried from spot to spot. Thus the need for handles on an even larger, heavier, pot.

Step 4:

Buy some strong, thick rope. Cut to length. Thread through the handle holes, and knot off.

When cutting the rope to length, remember to add some length for the knots, as well as enough rope that when you lift the handle your knuckles don’t bump against the barrel.

I had originally thought two handles per barrel half would be perfect. Each person has a handle with which to carry the pot. DH had a better idea.

Things I learned that day: Two people, four hands, four handles.

The plan was to move Bill from his current pot into one of these when he made the move back outside. However, with the level of joy Bill is showing off through flower and fruit production in his current pot, we won’t be rocking the boat. So until next fall when we do swap pots, these will likely house some flowers, a few herbs, and hang out by the grill on the patio.

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4 comments on “Lamos (Spanish for Limes) aka Bill

  1. Great project photos! If I read that right, you ordered the barrels from the distillery? Got a link? The ones I can buy around here are just flimsy reproductions, and expensive, too…
    I’m totally jealous of Bill, BTW. 😀

    • plumdirt says:

      We actually lucked out and our local Home Depot had just received some. Still on the pallet, price-less, and waiting. Usually they sell out in no time because they’re so sturdy and inexpensive for what they are. I just looked online, and you can get a planter built from a half barrel from Jack Daniels…but it’s not cheap. $130.

  2. Melissa says:

    handles. on the super heavy pot. what I BRILLIANT idea! our lemon trees are in wine barrels and I know that when we move we are going to have to move them. I wish I had thought of that before they were filled with dirt!

    • plumdirt says:

      Perhaps you could dig down a few inches, one side at a time, and install some anyway? Depending on how established the tree is in the pot, it may not mind at all!

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