Citrus of the World Unite!

I ordered a tree a while ago in memory of my father, James Saunt, who was a great gardener and citrus expert!

Before he died in 2010 he wrote his life’s work, “Citrus Varieties of the World: an Illustrated Guide”.

He first learnt about growing citrus in Australia where I was born and where he worked for the CSIRO.

He then spent the next forty five years travelling the world advising commercial growers.

He bought several trees which he tried to grow in large pots in the glasshouse but the conditions didn’t suit them and they eventually sank into terminal decline.

One that did survive was a very hardy ornamental called citrus trifoliata that sits near the yew arch in the main garden.

The shrub is in flower at the moment and will produce small hard round fruits which will appear in winter

It’s got huge long spikes and produces very small fruit which I was encouraged to try by my friend Steve Brett  (disclaimer: do not try this at home as they are not really meant to be eaten!)

He used the zest of the tiny orange globes (you can read about it here)  to flavour some fruit sorbets he made – and said he would have used yuzu if it had been available.

Yuzu is a bitter aromatic orange which is used extensively in Japanese cookery.

I lived in the country for three years in my late twenties and remembered it well.

And now – with the rise in popularity of Japanese food – you can buy yuzu juice from Waitrose!

This what Dad said about it in his book.

So after the successful fruit sorbet experiment I thought I might buy a Yuzu tree and finally got round to doing an online mail order from a German company called Lubera.

It came two days ago!

The citrus junos, as it’s also called, has huge spikes like its cousin, citrus trifoliata

I am assured by my research that the yuzu is quite hardy and will survive outside in temperatures  as low as −9 °C (15 °F) where more sensitive citrus would not thrive.

I’m going to plant it on the other side of the yew arch in memory of my Dad who created the garden here and who showed me how to grow my own food.

Who’s inspired you to garden or grow your own veg?



14 thoughts on “Citrus of the World Unite!”

    1. Yes, that’s me with him. I love this photo as he looks so young in it. He was 28. And yes he was interesting…one of the few working class children that benefited from post war health and education reform.

  1. I remember his huge garden in Bierton, and picking veg for your Sunday barbecues, and going home with veg, including unusual squash.

  2. This is lovely Cath. Good luck with your Yuzu! I remember your Dad planting Liquid Amber at Strumpshaw. I hope it’s still going strong…

    1. Ah! The liquid amber died just a couple of years after he did! We never got to the bottom of why. Mum was pretty gutted as it was their favourite tree…

        1. Yeah they are inundated. I ordered my tree three months ago… before the pandemic so was lucky it came now! Hope your spuds arrive soon.

  3. Lovely to hear about your dad, and read a bit of his writing. I’m so sorry never to have met him – we met you soon after he died. Good luck with the Yuzu! He would be proud of your continuing care and development of his lovely garden.

  4. What a lovely thing to do Cath in memory of your Dad. Looking forward to seeing the tree in the near future. As for who inspired me to grow veg you were the person who introduced me to your allotment in Trowse and which I still do. However I will always see it as Cath’s allotment. I can also remember as a child watching my father doing the veg garden so maybe some of that rubbed off. My father’s flower garden was also amazing, unlike mine!!!! xxx

    1. Yeah. I remember you saying that your Dad grew flowers and veg. And also how you had pheasants brought to the front door (shhh). My grandfather was a good grower too. I remember picking tomatoes for tea in the greenhouse. The smell was amazing – nothing like the cellophane wrapped stuff in the supermarket.

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