One year has passed since I started writing posts on Living in Rural Mallorca. I know this because WordPress just told me. And yet it seems just a few months ago that I started my new blog, after we’d finally had an Internet service connected to our finca on the island. This also means that we’ve had our Broadband Wi-Fi connection for a year, so thanks very much Wi-Fi Baleares – who achieved what we were convinced no company ever would, and stopped me pulling all of my hair out in frustration at a local Internet café.
Yes, time seems to pass quickly on Mallorca . . . except when you’re waiting for your tree’s first lemon to ripen. I wrote about our young lemon tree in June 2012 – The Boss having planted it in the spring of that year. We were looking forward to plucking a plump yellow lemon and slicing it into a celebratory G&T. Christmas seemed a likely date for this epic moment, but Christmas came and the first of our crop still looked more like a lime than a lemon. Easter perhaps? Naah.
But last week the moment to pick the first lemon from our garden arrived. And we were lucky enough to have our great friends from Oxfordshire with us to share in our minor triumph (a suitable distraction from the slow progress of the blackthorn shrubs they’d brought us on their previous visit).
Our luscious and deliciously fragrant lemon was sliced into four glasses of The Boss’s famous G&Ts, made with Mallorcan Can Vidalet gin. Delicious. By my reckoning, the next lemon should be ready in about seven months’ time . . .
Even before we’d bought our finca on Mallorca, I’d pictured myself strolling out into the garden and plucking a fat organic lemon from our own tree, to grace the occasional gin and tonic we enjoy on the terrace. By the time we’d bought the place and begun to plan The Big Move, my imagination had turned that lemon tree into a small citrus grove.
We bought a pile of books about Mediterranean gardening, and The Boss – a bit of a whizz with a spreadsheet – created a multi-page document detailing what would be suitable to grow in the mallorquin climate, mindful of the need to be frugal with water.
Our land is quite a reasonable size and comprises a rectangular field, a small rock and succulents garden (created by Marie and John, the previous owners), and a steep valley completely overgrown with wild olive and typical Mediterranean shrubs. Almost ten years after buying the place, I still have not ‘walked’ our entire land, not being deft enough with a machete to hack my way through the jungle. One day.
But one thing has finally been achieved. This spring, we planted our lemon tree. Admittedly, it’s perhaps not where we would have wanted it: After a considerable amount of effort with a pickaxe and spade, The Boss declared that there was only one spot where the soil was sufficiently deep to plant a tree. So our own citrus grove is certainly never going to happen.
The young tree has produced some sweet-scented flowers, and baby’s-fingernail-sized lemons have followed in their wake. With any luck later this year we’ll be slicing one into a glass of the delicious ONZE gin, produced by the Pollensa winery Ca’n Vidalet, and the only gin actually made in Mallorca. We discovered this new limited edition gin (ours is bottle number 536 of 1,500) at the 2012 Pollensa Wine Fair (Fira del Vi) and its blend of 11 Mediterranean botanicals – including rosemary and lavender – gives it a distinctive and delicious flavour. Everyone who has a G&T at our place loves it; we can’t wait to taste one with the addition of a slice of home-grown lemon . . .