Thursday, April 18, 2013


No, we're not talking Frankenstein's monster after the lightning hits. But if you remember the movie(s), I'm thinking in about that triumphant tone of voice.

I'm referring to my "dead" ponytail palm. A brief recap: bought in 1978 in Georgia, brought to Minnesota in '81, repotted as necessary until finally a galvanized washtub was the only thing that would fit, cut back once enabling 5 new trunks to grow and support full heads of foliage, weighing enough that it took both Richard and Paul to take it outside for the summer months and return it to the south window again, allowed to freeze (2 nights of 19 degrees) on the deck last fall because in preparation for the move there was not a speck of room left in the house for it, and moved to Arizona anyway to be planted here last October.

It looked like it was dying. Leaves yellowed, browned. Tiny new shoots which had spring up around the base last summer had disappeared. When it finally went in the ground, I took a knife and cut into the bark a bit. I found a bit of green. Despite everything, a bit of green under the bark. So I had my dead ponytail watered regularly. Steve reported around February all was brown.

I had him keep watering it. I refused to lose faith.

A landscaper stopped by and offered to dig it out too as a favor when he dug out unwanted bushes and old orange stumps from the yard. I declined.

I ran into a sale early this spring at WalMart of "bonsai houseplants" which included tiny multi-trunked ponytail palms, picked up two to replace my mourned one, and brought them down with me this week. They are planted on the north side of the house, facing the street.

Now, there was one sprig of green leaves greeting me when I pulled in the driveway, about 6" long. Steve kept it as a surprise for me. I was tickled. But the rest of the plant was all long brittle brown blades. Today I pulled out a box and a chair, grabbed scissors, and sat next to it to groom off the dead stuff. I noticed a green bud under one of the leaf nodes, then another and another. It was time to quit pulling and start cutting so they weren't disturbed. Once finished, each of the five trunks had at least one and usually several new shoots starting back up, now perfectly acclimated to the new sun levels of this permanent location.

My faith and Steve's watering had paid off: it's alive! IT'S ALIVE!!!!

And now I have three.

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