Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Very Tiny Ficus Named Dan

I'll give just about anything a try if I can grow it.  This one really surprised me though.  One desperate shot in the dark turned into a pleasant reward.

There is a story behind my new Ficus that started in 1996 when I made a big move.  I left behind my home and migrated to a bigger city.  I was looking for better job opportunities.  I moved my girls into a tiny 2 bedroom apartment that was sufficient for the time being.  I hadn't been able to bring much to furnish our new home with.  My brother dropped by my apartment one day with a pallet of tiny, weather beaten plants.  There were about five of them and they definitely need plenty of TLC.  He had rescued them from a Walmart dumpster.  Imagine someone who will grow anything they can finally getting some new house plants!  I was so elated.

 One reallyy caught my eye.  It couldn't have been more than 12 inches tall.  Although the leaves were sparse I wasn't going to give up on reviving the plant. I had the perfect spot for the tiny Ficus tree. My patio door had full morning sun, just the right thing to jump start my new project.  This is a Benjamin Ficus, which fortunately is one of the easiest of the Ficus spices to tend to. It also happens to be one of the most popular.  It took no time at all before I was out looking for a larger pot to transplant the tree into.

The years came and went, my Ficus continued to grow.  I made another move, this time to a bigger apartment.  Like any typical house plant this one didn't take to it's new environment as well as I had hoped it would.  It was spring and I had a large patio on my new 1st floor dwelling.  It was quite easy to move the plant outdoors for some much need fresh air and sun.  With the right nutrients for my foliage it was back on track soon.

Again I knew I had to find a larger container for my tree.  Easily 5 foot tall, and growing taller,  the roots needed more room to expand.  It took two of us to lift the tree and move it to it's new home.  Once comfortable in its new surroundings the Ficus really began to take off.  It was getting harder just to get the branches through the door.

At the ripe age of 10 my Ficas again got a new home.  It also new a new container.  I remarried, and we bought a house.  Fortunately my husbands enjoys house plants as much as I do.  It is getting to be a problem moving the tree from indoors to outdoors every season.  At over eight foot tall and four foot around it is a chore.  The tree handles it well though  A little visible shock when it is first moved, but it bounces right back.

Last Fall the tree was transferred inside to it's usual spot where it would get the perfect light.  One particular branch was sticking out awkwardly.  We had to duck beneath it in order to enter the office.  One day I had enough.  I grabbed my pruning sheer and snipped the branch.  Out of guilt I opted to attempt to save the trimming.  I grabbed a pot, added some compost and potting soil.  I kept my eye on it every day with my fingers crossed making sure it had plenty of water and nutrition.   I'll be darned if that little branch didn't take root and begin to grow.  Reminds me of another plant I got some seventeen years ago.  I think this year I may have to forfeit the office.  To bad you can't teach a tree to type :)

I call this little guy "Dan's Tree" in honor of a great man who left a legacy.   He lived life his way and enjoyed every day.  I will pass this to the daughter we shared.  I know she will look at it and remember the man who always gave special hugs, and had a big smile.

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