Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Ficus That Loves Me

While moving into my apartment in Grandview in the fall of 1996, I was out at one of the big box stores, buying light bulbs or returning the wrong size window blinds (or something equally errand-y), when I impulse-bought a small potted ficus tree.

I knew nothing of plants. Even having grown up the daughter of an avid gardener, my knowledge and experience was embarrassingly low. Still, something compelled me and I heaved it into my cart filled with items for my new place.

Over the years, I've bought other plants, a spider plant here, an adopted aloe plant there. But they never lasted. The cat ate one, another simply refused to grow roots and could be lifted in and out of the pot at will, and another required more water than I could consistently remember to provide. But ficus has thrived.

It survived my time at COSI (where I worked 18-hour days for two solid months and once left glass from a shattered ceiling fan on my bedroom floor for four days). It survived the move to my home where I placed it in the middle of the large picture window, with the same sun it received in the apartment. At Christmas, I adorn it with a single strand of lights and top it with a Santa hat left over from college.

What I love most about the tree is it's gentle forgiveness. It doesn't require me to work for its reward. When I remember to prune it back, tiny leaves grow in and impress me; when I don't, it doesn't punish me. The other day, my friend Brooke, while waiting on me to go for a walk, wondered allowed if maybe the pot was too small. It took me a week and a half of thinking about it, purchasing (and then returning) a pot way too big, and inquiring about the right type of potting soil, but I finally got the plant settled into it's new digs.

Tonight I spread out newspaper and carefully went about my first-ever plant transplant. I've seen my mother perform dozens of these over the years and never once considered its point beyond an obligated task. But it felt good to do something for my ficus. A long over-due thank you of sorts.

Makes me consider getting another plant. But I probably won't anytime soon.

1 comment:

  1. Dogs are forgiving, too. I probably won't be getting a dog, either. I raise a phantom glass of champagne to you in a toast. Salute!