Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Plumeria and Primroses

Last year, when we went to WDW, I got myself a little souvenir. It wasn't much to look at, just a forked stick. But the promise was enticing. If I took that stick and planted it, and watered it, and made sure that it got plenty of sunshine, it would grow into a plumeria tree. So I bit. I took home the stick and hoped that some of that Disney magic would bring this little stick to life. I planted it in special succulent soil, and put it in a sunny window until the days got warmer. Then it sat outside on our patio all summer long. About 2 months in, it began to grow little spikes on the top. These spikes lengthened and unfurled to beautiful, shiny leaves. It was magical. By the end of the summer, it looked something like this. Lush, vibrant and healthy:

And then the temperature dropped, and I had to take it inside. According to the directions, I wasn't to let the plant go dormant in the first year. I was to keep on watering it, and then the next summer it would burst into bloom. So I put it next to our one sunny window in the house and kept my eye on it. Every so often I would notice dirt on the floor, and then the leaves started to spot and drop off, and I got suspicious. I went in for a closer look, and smelled the unmistakeable odor of cat urine. The cats were using my precious plumeria as a litterbox! By the time I realized it, it was too late. The leaves were dropping every day, and my once lush plant looked sickly. I must, at this point, admit that I kind of went crazy on the cats. Or more specifically, cat. I knew that it could only be our male cat, Jasper who was defiling the plumeria. I googled for remedies and found several suggestions for deterring the cats from going in the plant. But first I had to bring the pH level back within normal range. So I flushed out the pot, running water through it several times until there was no odor left. Then I took skewers and placed them around the dirt to keep the cats out. Finally, we put the plant on a stand in the middle of a wall, where the cats couldn't reach it. After all this, the plant lost every last leaf, but one.

This last leaf has hung on for at least a month, and I think the plant is going to make it. But it is a sad shadow of the plant it used to be.
We are many months away from the 60 degree night temps that I need to put the plumeria back outside. Hopefully by then those little leaflings will have fully sprouted, and the plant will make a full recovery.

Right now, in the dead of winter, spring seems so far away. I have had enough of this snow and ice, and am starting to feel the burden of the cold temps and dark days. So, yesterday, on an impulse, I introduced another little plant into our house because it was so cheery, and spoke of the promise of spring. "Soon", it says, "soon!"

Now I need to figure out how to keep those cats far away...

Blossom- "I just want one tiny lick, I promise"
Jasper- "Hey, what do you have up there?"

Jasper- "Let me take a closer sniff, that soil needs some 'Eau de Jasper', I think"

Jasper- "Me, a plant killer? You must have me confused with some one else. See, I don't even care about plants!"

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