By Phyllis Galowitz

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Avocado Plant

I think it was in 1960 that I planted my first avocado pit and although they were fun to grow, the plant would usually last a year or so and then die after bringing it in the house following a summer outside. The shock of the dry, indoor heat after the hot, humid, fresh air was not for this tropical plant. It would die. But there would always be another pit ready, taking root in a glass of water, to start anew. Sixty years and I haven’t given up. Of course, there’s no hope that the plant will ever produce an avocado in Andes, so why do I persist? Maybe I’ve finally mastered how to grow it. My latest is a beauty.

For the same reason, I’ve been growing a coffee plant for years. This tropical plant has been happily growing in my house and producing beautiful beans for years, but after 10 years, it having produced only 11 beans, I realize there will never be enough for even 1 cup of coffee, so why? It’s a pretty plant that was given to me, as a seedling, in a 4″ pot and has now reached the ceiling. I’ve nurtured it, studied it and now it’s as tall as I can allow it to be (without cutting a hole through the ceiling.) I must make the decision of how to prune it. It’s almost like cutting a limb from my baby!

A few months ago, I wrote about a dracaena that was growing from a tiny plant to what was not a very attractive mop of a plant above an 8′ stick. For sentimental reasons, I could not part with this plant that did nothing for the décor of my living room but was too painful to discard. Finally, one day, I had the courage to prune off the top and two-thirds of the trunk. I removed the original root and pushed the top third down into the soil. After the lonely 3′ stick sat for several months, lo and behold, a little branch is poking its nose out of the top and will surely be the beginning of a new dracaena. I couldn’t be happier!


Coffee Plant

My jade plant, which also started as a tiny gift from a dear friend, is now overgrown and top-heavy. It has fallen over, its top flopping into the soil of the avocado plant next to it, and is taking root. It’s not very attractive and I’ve known for months that it should be pruned and transplanted, but, like sleeping dogs, I let it lie. I will transplant it as soon as I can take it outside, but lifting it, with its adopted sister, will be difficult and I’m not sure of how to go about it, so there it sits.

It’s been raining and cold for most of April and even on the rare sunny day, the ground is too wet to work in. I have done some raking and preparing the garden for planting in readiness for a warm, dry day. In the meantime, the grass is turning greener each day. Hostas’ noses are peeking out of the ground, telling me it’s time to divide them and transplant some into my new shade garden. Daffodils are about to bloom as of April 12th. The perennials are waking from their long sleep. Lilacs, hopefully, are ready to burst forth, as are forsythia and azaleas. Trees are showing a slight mist of color in the distance. Spring is definitely here.

Do some warm-up exercises each day to prepare your lazy-after-winter bodies for that strenuous work in the garden. Drink water as you’re gardening. You can easily become dehydrated. Bring your phone with you. It’s a good safety measure. Use sunscreen and dress to protect yourself from sun and insects.  Enjoy your days in the garden.  ~