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Bitter Orange Marmalade

Summing Up the Year That Was


We have in our garden quite a few trees. For each tree, there are stories about their planting, their growth and the fruit that they bare. These stories often feel like allegories to life. One of the trees that caused much ponder over the years was the lemon tree. We planted the lemon tree shortly after we moved in 18 years ago. We saw many lemon trees in various gardens in our neighborhood, so we knew that the lemon tree should be comfortable in our garden and bare fruit. The tree barely grew. We watered it, gave it nutrients, spoke to fellow gardeners, nothing worked. We were lucky to get 3-4 lemons each season. Then, a few years ago, we weren’t home for a while and a garden pipe burst. We came home to a muddy garden. We fixed the pipe. A few months later, the tree began to grow like you wouldn’t believe. Giving fruit like it was supposed to! We then noticed that the tree was baring two different fruits. The front side gave lemons and the back side gave bitter oranges!

Acrylic On Canvas 80cm x 60cm@ All Rights Reserved Barbara Adler Art 2022

It turns out that the reason for the stunted original growth and lack of fruit was due to an inner conflict within the tree that had to do with its original grafting. Most citrus fruit is grafted upon bitter orange trees as they are hardy. So, on one tree we now have great lemons, but the oranges are uneatable! Well, that’s what I thought till I came across a fantastic recipe for bitter orange marmalade. It does deem a bit of work, but it is definitely worth the while and effort. The marmalade is one of the best that I have eaten.

We can look upon this story as a paraphrase to “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Seize the day “Carpe Diem”. We can also see this as how one grows through conflict, acceptance and understanding. What may appear as a failure may actually be a fantastic success if given the time and opportunity. Looking back at the past year, we my feel regret, notice missed opportunities and feel failure. We may see something that is nice but doesn’t seem to fit, disposing of it. I tell my students never to throw out any of their works or sketches. Often, at a much later date, one will come across it and see it in a different light, giving new meaning and an opportunity to create. Its all part of the inner artistic dialogue.

Digital illustration @ All Rights Reserved Barbara Adler Art 2022

Give at the beginning of this New Year a meaningful piece of art as a present. Give uniqueness, individuality and meaning to space and time.


There is Art for everyone’s state of mind, desires and tastes. Flatter me! Contact me if you would like to personalize a special gift for a special someone. Nothing like a meaningful, personal painting or drawing as a gift.

All the works on this blog are Printable and for sale. They are Barbara Adler originals. I love talking about my art and almost any subject related, so feel free to DM to converse and purchase my art, making it yours.

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