October 9, 2007
Tifton --- Most of us have heard the old saying: "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." But, what does a person do when they grow more lemons than they could ever use?
Some people have a special relationship with nature and it always shows.
"The results are pretty," says Billy Cox as he walks past one of many rose bushes. You could say Billy and his wife, Gayle, rate as pretty amazing gardeners since they have petunias thriving in their concrete driveway, and dozens of other flowers that show their colors.
Billy doesn't park his truck in the carport out of fear of running over the colorful plant.
The Coxes love to work in their yard and it shows. No other yard in their neighborhood comes remotely close to such a colorful home, not only in the front yard, but the back one, as well. They have two banana trees in their back yard that produced 70 bananas.
The Coxes don't grow just any tree or flower. It must have special meaning for him to invest his time.
"I want something to remind me of grandmother or the farm," says Billy.
Gayle's pride and joy bloomed months ago, and then took all summer to grow, of all things, lemons.
"I paid a dollar-and-a-half for a pot that I was told had a lemon tree growing in it," says Gayle.
She bought the tree at a going out-of -business sale. Billy planted it on the Southside of their home.
Gayle didn't know it at the time, but the lemon tree came with its own security system.
"Really wicked," says Gayle.
Thorns quickly let you know if you get too close for their comfort.
"These thorns don't bend a bit, either," says Gayle.
She has to wear protection when pruning, thick leather gloves to run interference if she gets too close.
But, the unforgiving thorns have a soft side. They protect birds that set up housekeeping inside the branches. Nature has a way of helping its own.
"Very much so," says Gayle.
At first, Gayle didn't know what she had purchased. No lemons the first year, and then something happened, as if someone gave the tree steroids.
It produced not only lemons, but huge lemons.
"Twenty to 25 a year," says Gayle.
The lemon tree usually produces bigger fruit and a lot more of it, but not this year. The Coxes believe it has something to do with the extremely dry weather.
It's not uncommon for one of the lemons to weigh three pounds and dwarfs a regular lemon.
Inside, the lemon produces lots of seeds and juice.
"Enough lemonade for the whole block," says Gayle.
"I think they are a little more sour than a grocery store lemon," says Gayle.
A lemon tree brings visual refreshment to a pair of gardeners who went out on a limb at a distress sale, and got much more than they bargained for.