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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Too bad the lady’s dead

I’m actually quite upset over this, voicing this to my neighbor in language not fit to post here.  She laughed because sometimes I surprise her, but we can and do talk about all issues.  I’m going to miss that when I move.

Most of you reading this will probably say, “Big deal.  It’s only a plant.”  But to me it is a big deal because this is the oldest plant I had.  I’ll give you a brief history of this lady’s tragic life.

I rescued her from the garbage room right after I moved to California in 1979.  She was small then and I’d have to dig through a ton of old pictures to find a photo, so I borrowed one from the net for this shot.

Elephants Foot

Believe me the box of old photos I have is one of those large dish packs that’s about twenty by twenty and three feet high.  I don’t have time for digging in there right now.  This was all before they invented the digital camera.  One day when I have spare time on my hands, I want to scan most of those pics into my computer.  However, there are so many I don’t know if I’ll ever have that much free time.

We lived in a condominium complex back then.  Our neighbor had thrown the plant in the garbage room wanting it to go out with the trash because she was tired of taking care of it.  She laughed when she saw it sitting on our patio.  “I wondered who would rescue that plant,” she said.

As time went on, we bought a house, moved, and repotted the plant.  It grew, obviously happy with its placement in the yard under some trees.  The root ball (body) increased from about six inches in diameter to about twenty-four inches in diameter.  Eventually it grew too tall, so we had to move it out a tad because it was touching the tree branches.  We repotted the lady several times over the twenty-five years we lived there.

When it came time to leave and move to the desert location we now occupy, I couldn’t leave her behind.  She towered over my head by then, obviously in love with California as much as I was.  The lady was specimen quality.  Everyone commented on her beauty.  So I loaded her, and other plants I wouldn’t leave behind, onto a trailer and a friend drove them to our new home.

Well the first catastrophe happened when the wind snapped her off about halfway down.  This occurred on the drive when she was on the trailer.  Poor girl.  I still have this top portion and intend to use it in an art project someday.

 This is the lady to the right of the door (in happier times a few years ago).  This was after she broke off twice and before the top froze causing her to sprout in other places.

The first winter we were here, she was caught up in the wind again, snapping her green bladed fronds off, leaving her about three feet high.  I felt terrible, but she wanted to live and started to sprout in funny places then.  At this time, I realized she was a lady, but a headless one now.  See the picture below.

 Elephants Foot - See her arms?

I’ve done my best with protecting her over the years.  In the desert where the weather is harsh and brutal, I kept her in the shade of the patio and close to the house.  I watered her good in the warm months and I always wrapped her well every winter.  In the spring, I trimmed off the old, dry fronds and new ones always sprouted – until this year.

But I wanted her to live.  I continued to water, talk to her, and didn’t give up all summer.  However, now it’s the end of August and there’s not one little sprouted green blade anywhere on her body.  I’m going to have to announce defeat this time and resign myself to the fact that she’s gone and has lost the battle with the elements.  That’s what I was spouting off to my neighbor about.  We had such a horrible winter with record-breaking temperatures and snow.

This is the poor lady after last years winter

 As goofy as this sounds, I feel like giving her a burial and not just hurling her over the back wall into the desert, or putting her in the can at the curb.  She’s been with me too many years for that kind of disposal.

I don’t want to live in a place where I have to cover plants and worry about their welfare ever again.  I’m done with that and I can’t wait to get the heck out of here.


  1. I can see how you'd feel that way! Could you do indoor plants until you move?

    1. H Stephanie,

      Good to hear from you. I try to stay away from indoor plants because of the cats. They'd have potting soil all over the house, not to mention they'd probably try to eat the plants too.



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