Brown thumb!

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From left, the ponytail palm, rubber tree, dragon palm (I think), jade tree, a bright green cactus, and the fencepost cactus.

Travis has a big rubber tree at his shop. And I mean big. They can grow over a 100′ tall in the tropics I think, but indoors they can also grow to touch your ceiling. Or at least they can with the right conditions, apparently, because this one is at least 8′ tall and then some. When it hit the ceiling tiles Travis started tying the branches to the little metal tile supports and now it is actually growing along the ceiling. It’s super leggy and kind of ugly really, but I don’t know how to fix it.

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The rubber tree in its new pot, trying to root.

I’d probably just end up killing it if I tried, so instead I just cut off two little tips to try and root them! They’re all set up now in a fresh pot (pictured below), tied up in a trash bag, and sitting in a bright sunny window of the shop. I read that it could take a month or so to grow roots, so in two weeks I’ll check and make sure it is still moist enough in my img_1925little rigged up hothouse.  Do you also see the tall green cactus on the right? I think that is a fencepost cactus. I took a cutting from the top of the right post, and I also took two little tips from that bright green cactus on the left of it. I don’t know what that one is but I am going to try and grow it also. Travis told me he doesn’t think they will grow outside…(for all that he has a green thumb I don’t really think he knows what he’s talking about, but shhhh). It’s a cactus for crying ouloud. Surely it would grow in the desert???

img_1911There is one more plant here in the shop that I want to “save,” and that is this pony palm right here. A few days ago it was so dry that I could pick it up straight out of the pot. The roots and soil were so dry they had shriveled up away from the sides of the pot like a raisin. The stems were so limp they were just hanging over the sides, floppy and lifeless. So I zip-tied them together. Bad idea? Not sure-but it looked so pitiful! It doesn’t look nearly as bad in this picture as it did before I watered it. Any advice on how to make the stems strong again?

I have never had a ‘green thumb’ before, I still don’t. I would say maybe it’s more brown, halfway between a green thumb (grows everything) and a black thumb (kills everything (and yes I made this term up)). Watching Travis over the last four years has taught me what my problem was. First of all I never paid attention to my plants, so I never learned their plant language, and as a result I would over or under water.  And secondly I think I fussed too much, or was too neglectful. No happy medium right? They must have felt it too because everything I touched just withered and died, so sad. Even cactus!!!!

I daydream about having the kind of front yard that people drive by and go “WOW they have a nice yard!” Silly maybe, but I do. And that kind of yard takes daily dedication. For awhile there I was crawling on all fours around my front yard every single day pulling dandelions, crab grass, goatheads, and numerous other evil lawn assassins. I was bemoaning the fact that I simply could not stay ahead of the weeds to my bestie and she said “You know, I’ve read that you never can. What you gotta do is focus on growing your grass really good, because weeds can’t grow in good thick grass. So just water the heck out of it and don’t worry so much about those weeds.”  And I thought “AHA!” I wonder if that is what the farmer knew in the parable of the weeds, Matthew 13:24-39? Don’t focus on the weeds (sin, negative, doubt, etc), focus on the grass (God/Love), and the weeds sort themselves out. They choke and die and the few that survive will be killed in the harvest (yeaaaaah better watch out for that weed killer, I’m comin for ya!).

I used to think I didn’t have it in me to love and nurture plants, that I only had enough to love and nurture my son and there wasn’t anything left over for plants or animals lol.  I realize now that I DO have it in me. And now I also have two children, so it is even more surprising. I have to say that the most rewarding thing for me is the fact that once

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I weed, mow, prune and trim, everything stays looking nice for at least a week! Not like the kitchen, which takes two hours of work to sparkle but only two minutes to revert to a disaster. My kids can’t make the grass grow any faster, thank goodness, or untrim the sweet potato vine. The sweet potato vine is one of my favorites, by the way.  I have taken a bunch of cuttings and am rooting them in water, they root in what feels like hours, literally. Watch this cutting come back to life with a little water!

I’m having a lot of fun getting my hands dirty in the garden, I can’t wait to show pictures of the staghorn elk I bought, and some lemongrass. I need to make a mosquito repellent container….ideas?

Here’s a picture just for fun. Eleonora can’t keep her fingers out of the dirt either 🙂

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Eleonora can never keep her fingers out of the dirt.

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One response to “Brown thumb!

  1. love love this post as I love all of them,,,, yes for green thumb, maybe an edge of brown here and there 🙂 but o you are co creating at the moment and it is a wonderful journey.. You go girl

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