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Look what I grew!
An occasional series highlighting items from home gardens
1012Grew sj
Betty Richardson of Gainesville holds one of the lemons that grew on the skinny tree in her backyard over the summer. - photo by Kristen Morales

About 15 years ago, Betty Richardson's aunt gave her a seedling from a lemon. Richardson promptly planted it and let a skinny plant grow from it. Occasionally, it would grow a tiny flower but never much more than that - until this past summer, when a few days of heavy rains caused the flowers to go a step further and produce fruit. The tree also has its own protection - 2-inch-long thorns sticking out of its branches.

What she grew: A variety of lemon. "My aunt gave it to me about 15 years ago and it was about this big," Richardson said, holding her hands about 6 inches apart. A little Web research told us it's common for lemons grown from seed to have thorns, which this tree does, and it can take at least seven years for some varieties to produce fruit.

Why she decided to grow it: "Because it was my aunt's and she gave it to me," Richardson said. "This is the first year I noticed blooms on it."

Does it require any special care: "Evidently not ... when it rains the water just runs right here."

How the plant will be used: Richardson doesn't plan on doing any cooking with the lemons, since they are a bit small and are filled with about a dozen large, round seeds. "Maybe let friends come by and look at it because they've never seen one."

Would she grow it again: "It's going to stay here unless these thorns start to stick out and I get stuck good on it."

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