Brush away in pursuit of early fruit

Even before early hyacinth blooms fill the conservatory with fragrance, the coffee, citrus, jasmine and poinsettia plants have been weighing in with their winter contribution.

Clusters of white coffee blooms came first and we were busy with a super soft artist’s brush transferring pollen between flowers.

Current groups of fruits confirm a successful operation.

Potted citrus fruits (oranges and lemons) and tender white winter jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) receive very similar year-round treatment from us. Keep them indoors all summer long if you want them to sulk and look ill at ease, even pest-ridden in the dry conditions.

But give them a long break out in the garden and see how chirpy they are in late September when you declare the holiday over and welcome them back under glass.

The payback is flower buds appearing in little over a month and the air is filled with an unbelievable fragrance. Brushing the orange blossom daily to secure fruits is a pure labour of love.