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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Oh Me of Little Faith!

Some weeks ago I was annoyed and grumbling because in the wake of extensive tree removal and pruning, the groundskeepers seemed to have gone a little overboard with their chainsaws, whacking off all the best parts of the ornamental shrubbery that keeps our place from looking like a low-cost housing project in Chicago. These are the kind of plants I used to have as botanical house pets on the mainland; little did I know then that I was really torturing them, keeping them stunted in pots and living on artificial fertilizer and limited sunshine in Appalachia, far from their tropical roots, so to speak.

Truth be told, the greenery around the building had gotten a bit rangy, although I enjoy that overgrown jungle mess, keeping in mind my previous prisoners of horticulture. And in fact in Hawaii, unless you lop off an offending plant pretty much right at ground level, it will be back, and sooner than you expect. (And that may not even be enough; you may have to dig it out, or burn it, or poison it.)

So today I am delighted to see and report the life force bursting forth from the cut branches, promising an even lusher display of tropical foliage in the very near future. I need to
 overcome my reluctance to intervene in the management of my own plants (I still keep some prisoners) beyond providing water and food; there is a big fig tree on my lanai suffering from neglect and entropy, not in the best of health, anticipating stress fractures in its pot, even the table it sits on is in danger of imminent collapse. I must get a good sharp saw (and buy it a new cage) to bring it back under control before it gives up its ghost just because I refused to cut it back. It's too late to make a bonsai; anyway, as beautiful as that can be, that seems like real torture.

And since Kim Jong Il seems not to have made good on his pompous threats to blow the Hawaiian Islands into oblivion in observance of Independence Day, (not that I was really worried, but if you are at ground zero, there's not much point in thinking too much about such things) my 10th floor fig tree certainly deserves a chance, like its cousins on the ground below and all of us, to continue to enjoy soaking up the sun and the moonlight that streams to my lanai for as long as possible.

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