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A taste of Florida
Richmond Hill man grows oranges, more in his backyard
Gordon Hollands orange tree
Longtime Richmond Hill resident Gordon Holland poses next to the orange tree in his back yard. Holland and his wife Phyllis also have a tangerine tree and what they believe is a tangelo tree. All three bear fruit every year.
Gordon Holland doesn’t remember the year his wife put the seeds in a flower bed behind their house on Pine Crest Street.
The retired Union Camp pipefitter does recall what happened next, however.
“They came up and I transplanted them,” he said.
The rest is a history of fertilizer, sunshine and steady growth. And for at least the past five years, Holland, 79, and his wife Phyllis have been growing quite a crop of oranges, tangerines and what they believe are tangelos – all on three trees in their back yard, the tallest of which is 20-feet high and was still thick with oranges Saturday.
“We usually pick about 30 five gallon buckets,” Gordon Holland said. “We didn’t have as many oranges last year. I figure we only had about 20 five gallon buckets.”
Holland, who uses an old wood ladder to get to the highest branches,  starts picking his citrus crop in November and continues through January. He keeps some of the fruit while giving away some. And the typical reaction when someone learns the citrus came from Holland’s back yard?
“They don’t believe me,” he said.
Holland said he knows of a few others in the area who have tangerine trees. He said the citrus trees don’t require special care.
“I put fertilizer to them and water them in dry weather,” said Holland, who also grows everything from tomatoes to squash, beans and cabbage, “just like you would with any tree. I cut the top out of them every year because they keep growing so high.”
The trees blossomed earlier this year than usual, Holland said – and they’re already covered with the tiny blooms which will become next year’s crop of fruit.
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