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The Secret Life of Trees (well, mine anyways)

One of the features folks always comment on when they walk into my home is my plants.  The other day I had some electrical work done – track lighting installed in the living room.  The electrician listened carefully to my plans, looked around thoughtfully at the space then turned back to me and asked, “Is it always going to be a jungle in here or can we move some of these?”

It got me thinking about my plants and I was amazed at how long some of them have been with me and how they came to be here.  Here are just a few…

This is my Palm Tree.  Back in the old days, we lived in a huge house in Lunenburg, MA that had an enormous “game room” complete with ping pong and pool tables.  One January, we decided to have a Beach Party in the game room.  We pushed the tables laid down tarps, brought in sand, turned the heat way up an put on our Beach Boy albums.  The neighbors all came in their bathing suits and we had a ridiculously good time.  I had gone to Home Depot and bought four stunted, struggling but tropical-looking potted Palms.  This is one of those plants all these many years later.  Every six months it sends up a tall, slender pole that slowly unfurls into a beautiful frond.  I can’t look at it without remembering the January escapade.

Yes, the chair is one of a pair that also gets its share of comments.

This fig tree dates back farther but I don’t have any fun stories.  Just the fact that it was bought for our first little house, in Littleton, MA in the late 80’s – early 90’s.  It has done quite well for itself!

I don’t even know what this is called.  My dog-walker, Paula, brought it by the house one day last fall saying it was lying down on the floor and she didn’t have a clue what was wrong with it, but since I seemed to have a “green thumb” would I take it?  Now it is taking over the spiral staircase…

My Dad’s Mother, Nana Al, was the true house-plant-queen when I was growing up.  I remember her sunny apartment with a copper tray on the floor in front of the windows.  The tray was full of white stones and massive plants strained for the ceiling.  Her specialty was to take an avocado pit, stick 4 toothpicks in it and suspend it in a glass of water.  Within days it would split and a root and stem would  curl from either end.  These amazingly grew into tall trees that sat on the stone tray.

From my mother-in-law I inherited a tiny cutting off one of her glorious jade plants.  That was over 25 years ago and the off-spring from that first cutting continue to thrive and reproduce in my loft office.

This Philodendron spent many years in my office in Acton.  It was left to me by a friend who moved to another company.  My office had no windows and sometimes, when I was traveling a lot, it would spend weeks in the dark.  Today it is a happy camper in the living room.

And finally, the short-lived but oh-so-cheery flowers of winter.  The Paper Whites have taken over a corner of my kitchen…

The pink and white Amaryllis was bought for full price in late October with the hope it would bloom for Christmas.  It just came out this week.  The orange one was one of two I picked up for $5 at the grain store just before Christmas as they were already blooming.  Both produced two stalks of lovely blooms and this one is finally starting to fade….you get what you pay for???

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