February 18, 2014
You unlock this door with the key of curiosity, and you enter another dimension. A dimension of sight, a dimension of smells, a dimension of textures. You move into a land of both nature and permutations. You've just crossed over into....the Garden Zone. Its winter and cold outside and today we're at Pine Hills Nursery checking out a couple of very unusual plants. Our first botanical oddity is the citron plant. You may know citron as one of those candied fruits used in the holiday fruitcakes that you always throw away. But have you ever dared to discover what the real citron fruit actually looks like? At first glance the fruit looks kind of like a lemon gone wild. No wonder it's called by the common name of Buddha Hand. The fruit is multi-fingered and has a remarkable appearance, and are actually bigger than most peoples' hands. Another plant that comes from a dimension beyond that which is known to man is Mother of Thousands. There are several varieties that use the same common name. The leaves are actually thickened structures called phylloclades and these plants have a unique form of propagation. During the short days of the winter, baby plantlets, and I mean lots of baby plantlets, develop along the edges. The baby plantlets actually develop roots so they are ready to start growing wherever they fall off. Some years the plants even produce stalks with an umbrella-like inflorescence, with bell-shaped pink flowers. So the next time you feel daring and courageous, travel to a dimension as timeless as infinity. Daring to delve into this dimension might even make your thumbs turn green. It's an area which we call....the Garden Zone. I'm horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.