Our family tree's story goes back over seven years ago to a small town in Oklahoma. While shopping at a local hardware store I noticed they had dwarf fruit trees on clearance so I picked up a dwarf Meyer lemon tree for two dollars. It was a little more than a twig with only a handfull of leaves. Little could I have known the lengths to which I would go to keep this tree alive. The tree grew slowly at first, so bringing it inside the first two winters was not an issue. Two years later we moved to St. Louis for me to earn an MBA degree, and the Meyer lemon made the journey in the back of our SUV. For two years in St. Louis the tree held a prominent spot in the front window, getting progressively bigger. The summer of our second year we spent eight weeks living in a hotel room in Dallas while I worked at an internship. With no one to take care of our plants for eight weeks in St. Louis, we took the Meyer lemon tree (now 4 feet tall) with us. Arriving at the hotel we used a luggage rack to wheel the tree through the lobby, up the elevator, and into the room, where it stayed for the next eight weeks. Upon finishing my MBA we moved to Chicago for my job and once again the Meyer lemon made the trip. At nearly five feet tall the tree had outgrown our vehicles and we could not trust it would survive the trip in the scorching summer heat in the back of a moving truck. So we rented an oversized SUV specifically to transport the Meyer lemon. Over the past three years in Chicago the tree has continued to thrive, flowering in 2016 for the first time and producing fruit in 2017. The Chicago winters have proven a new challenge to overcome. As the plant has reached heights of nearly seven feet, now too large to bring inside, the tree has its own shed, complete with heaters and lamps, to survive the harsh Chicago winters.
Over seven years our two dollar Meyer lemon tree has traveled approximately 1,900 miles, lived in four states, spent eight weeks in a Sheraton hotel, and is currently residing in its own climate-controlled building, waiting for Chicago spring. The tree is so much more than a houseplant-- it is a source of pride and joy.