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Tales from the orange tree

There once was an orange tree. A very small orange tree that lived in a garden centre on the edge of town. The staff at the garden centre were very nice to the orange tree. They kept it in a pot with healthy soil, watered it regularly, and put it in a place where it could feel the warm sun on its shiny green leaves. But this life wasn't enough for the orange tree. It daydreamed about a family that would come and buy it and bring it home to give it a new life somewhere that the sun shone brightly and hotly, somewhere that it could hear children laughing and know that it was loved. Afterall, a happy tree is a tree that makes lots of oranges, thought the orange tree.

One day, a family did come. They weren't looking for an orange tree. But something about that little tree made them smile. Yes, they thought, we have a very hot south-facing greenhouse that just might make the perfect home for this orange tree. So they brought the tree home, expecting from it nothing more than pretty leaves and maybe even a few blossoms from time to time. Afterall, oranges don't grow around here, they thought. But what if the little south-facing greenhouse did get hot enough and for long enough? Could the little orange tree grow fruit?

It did get hot. It got very hot. The heat lasted long enough that small white blossoms appeared all over the orange tree soon after arriving in its new home. The family was pleased. Their very hot greenhouse was indeed the perfect home for the orange tree, and the tree seemed very happy.

A little while later tiny green balls appeared to be growing from where the flowers had been. They looked an awful lot like... tiny green oranges, thought the family! They were! In time, the tiny green oranges became less tiny green oranges and then the most amazing thing happened. In the hot air of the greenhouse those small green oranges began to change colour. And do you know what colour they turned? Orange!

The family was overjoyed. Oranges from our very own greenhouse, they cheered! They savoured pieces of the juicy fruit together and felt happy that their very hot greenhouse made such a perfect home for the orange tree. The orange tree was happy too. It knew all along that a very happy orange tree would make lots of very good oranges.