As the snow is falling in Rome and much of northern Italy, we woke up to few traces of snow around the garden and white tops on the mountain peaks along the Amalfi Coast. If it had been just a few degrees colder, we would have woken up to discover a winter wonderland outside!
Last week on a day that it didn’t rain (remarkable!), I went out for a nice walk to enjoy the sun and the blue skies. The ancient stone paths connecting Pontone and Amalfi take you through steeply terraced lemon groves. This time of year you’ll find the lemon trees covered in black mesh covers. I like to think of them as the lemon blankets. It’s as if the lemons have been covered up and are resting during the cold and damp winter months. But one peek underneath and you’ll see that they’re not really sleeping after all. Bright yellow lemons poke out from under the covers here and there, providing a welcome reminder of the warm sun and summer days ahead.
I asked some locals recently about the covers. They are used to protect the leaves and fruit on the tree from the freezing rain that we sometimes get on the Amalfi Coast. But it was also interesting to learn that they are primarily used to protect the roots of the lemon trees. The roots are not very deep, making the trees perfect for growing on the rocky terrain and small terraces on the Amalfi Coast, and they are particularly susceptible to freezing. So those “blankets” do keep the lemons nice and protected during the winter. Shhh . . . keep on sleeping lemons. The weather this morning was a reminder that it’s not quite time to wake up!