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Resurrection: I Know That My Gardenia Liveth


My gardenia is back to life!

This is the plant I described in Killing Plants. Even though it was just a twig (to quote Bobby Goldsboro*), I kept it because it was  a green, pliable twig: it showed some signs of life.

And I kept it because I’ve had at least one plant in a container which showed even fewer signs of life (it was a reddish-barked shrubling) but came alive after two years-count them, TWO YEARS sitting in a pot doing pretty much nothing. (I’m sorry to say I can no longer remember what plant it was). I’ve also seen a plum tree sapling revive that had been in the ground looking dead for a year.

This has prompted me to hold on to pots with even the deadest stick, which isn’t entirely a good thing, since it only encourages my packrat tendencies. But I hate to give up on the hope of life.

If I’m honest, I’m not really sure why this heirloom ‘Belmont’ gardenia came back. I kept watering it; I gave it the occasional dose of iron chelate which is said to please gardenias. I did the occasional energy healing on it. And I can’t help wondering if its mulch of seedling plugs might have helped.

The seedling plug mulch came about because a  raccoon-at least I assume it was a raccoon, because it clearly had opposable thumbs-raided my seedling trays. The trays  of plugs were sitting in a deep bottom-watering tray. Raccoons love sitting water; they like to wash their food.

They like to play with it, too, because the morning after the raccoon attack, I found seedling plugs tossed hither, thither, and yon.

I put the plugs that still had seedlings in them back in the tray; in the process I set the blank plugs wherever was handiest. One of those places was the gardenia pot, sitting nearby.

After I’d settled the seedlings that had survived the attack—with great loss of identity–I put most of the plugs back into their plastic bag. But I let the ones on the gardenia stay there, vaguely thinking that they might do the gardenia some good, and maybe they have.

I don’t know. Anyway, the plugs are handy to the seedling tray for fall planting (which I ought already to have done), and the gardenia’s back. Something ate the tops of the first two leaves that came out, so I wasn’t until recently. But now it’s got six leaves (or four and two halves), and a leaf bud ready to go. I think it’s as safe as it ever is to declare this plant alive.

Got your own resurrection-in-the-garden stories?

* Let me know if you get this very esoteric literary reference. There are probably a few remaining people out there who also had this song pressed into their very bones, since for a month or two it was on the radio about every ten minutes.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Nancy Bond September 25, 2008, 12:55 pm

    I’m so glad that your gardenia came back to life. Perhaps, like me, it just needed a little nap. 😉

  • Pomona Belvedere September 25, 2008, 1:28 pm

    A nap in the Sleeping Beauty category, I’d say!

  • joco September 27, 2008, 12:51 am

    Hiya Pomona B.
    My dead sticks are multiplying. Camellia is the saddest. No green visible when I scratch the bark. Can’t bear to throw it out. Maybe I could plant something in the pot with it to climb through the three feet trunk and branches. Plumbago?

    When I think of all the gardenias that have bitten the dust in my house, I could weep. Wish I had kept one to see if I can ever be as lucky as you and have one revive.

    Glad I found you: very interesting posts.

  • Pomona Belvedere September 29, 2008, 10:22 am

    That is sad about the camellia. But don’t give up hope yet. I like the idea of planting something compatible in with it.

    It’s a sad thing about human nature, or at least about my nature; somehow it makes me feel better that I’m not the only killer of gardenias.

    I enjoyed your blog, too. I loved “Land belongs to the owners. Landscapes belong to the viewer.” Sometimes I also think land really belongs to the beings who use and live in it.

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