Friday, April 2, 2010

Houseplant Jungle.

I once grew a Monstera deliciosa that became, over time, so big that the aerial roots grew into our green shag rug and broached the floor boards.It leached out all the dye from the rug where it rooted. This was in the olden days when shag rugs were either "de rigueur" or the "cat's pajama's" which ever you prefer. Needless to say I was not popular with the pianist. The children and I had lugged this plant from the greenhouse to the living room annually in the spring for years, on a toboggan, since I repotted it into progressively larger and larger pots. Eventually, it became so heavy, we had to hammer two by fours in the pot, for 4 people to carry it. I must have been mad. I eventually was forced to give it to the Crystal Gardens in Lotus City ,then a Civic Arboretum.At least they sent a truck to pick it up, along with my obscenely large Bird of Paradise that I had also been "over the top" with. My failing is I cannot easily get rid of plants that I have harbored for years, but no longer fit, but where? I have not learned my lesson and now struggle with a 30 year old Rubber Tree (Fiscus elastica) that is 20 feet tall and has started to become unruly and leaf burned on top due to its proximity to a skylight. If I prune it, it leaks white rubber sap in great gushes and then develops a wild and crazy growth habit. When we were in Israel years ago at the church site of the Beatitudes, north of the Sea of Galilee, there was a Fiscus elastica planted by Mussolini to celebrate his conquering of Ethiopia in 1934, the year I was born. It was about 80 feet high. It was a beautiful tree despite the grotesque gesture of Mussolini. My house tree is long,lank and a victim of my own botanical hubris. It is not the plant's fault! The pianist is into African violets and Streptocarpus. That makes more sense for little old people.

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