Maybe it's because I grew up in one in Southern California but there is something special about orange trees. They are ever green, beautifully formed, blossoms are aromatic, fruit is among the most delicious and healthy of any in the world.
Even though I now live in West Texas, many miles north of the Texas citrus country on the Rio Grande, so can't go out and pick a fresh one off the tree like I used to growing up, I still eat an orange every day...and my favorite is a good ripe (which they are now at the stores) navel orange.
My parents moved to Santa Barbara when I was in college, and their house wasn't far from a large orange grove. It made the whole neighborhood smell sweet and . . . wonderful. I loved going there on breaks, and now the smell of oranges always transports me back there with my parents, though they passed away almost 30 years ago.
Indeed, nothing sweeter than the smell of orange blossoms. And nothing stinkier (or more fun) than being a kid and having rotten orange fights in the groves with the fruit that has already fallen... lovetorun and I grew up in the same neighborhoods in the same era when Orange County CA was, literally, orange country. On freezing nights the whole county stank from the fumes of the smudge pots burning in the orchards. Much of my childhood was spent just a block away from the packing house where my mom sometimes worked sorting fruit. We simply did not know what it was like to pay $ for citrus of any kind, it was always available from backyard trees or friends or relatives. When my brother got out of the navy and temporarily moved back in to the family home his first job was driving a funky little tank truck through the orchards on the Irvine Ranch spraying god-only-knows what kind of deadly chemicals all over the trees. Our mom used to make him strip in the backyard and wash using the garden hose before he could come in the house. So, yeah lovetorun, I'm all in with you! Anyone who grew up in that time and place has to love orange groves.
When I lived in Pasadena, I was 400m from Orange Grove Blvd.... but we also had two types of lemon trees in our backyard, as well as an avocado tree. Now, we have a lemon tree, Mexican lime tree, and some variety of orange tree (not sure which, however) -- also a fig tree. Having grown up in Canada, where things are frozen half the year, it's wonderful to have the constant source of citrus throughout the year. Although I wish it were something other than sour fruit...
I grew up in Alhambra (after five years in South Pasadena). Our house was built in 1910 and we have an orange tree in our yard that was a remnant of a grove. The oranges were on the sour side -- we used to squeeze them and then throw in a lot of sugar and then freeze a bunch of it. The orchard must have been from at least the 1890s, so tree varieties have evolved a bit since then. I went to grad school in Claremont, leaving the area for the last time in 1986. We were just visiting the campus(es) in the college-tour marathon and the campus at the Colleges looks reasonably similar but north Claremont lost all of the residual groves that were the survivors from my arrival in 1972 and if full of houses and the 210 freeway extension.