Joshua tree 145 days after planting

Joshua at 145

Thriving and surviving … for the moment

Young Joshua — yet another member of the J generation — is thriving. No small accomplishment that, given my track record with plants.

Joshua now has seven (!) leaves. Sharp-eyed observers of Joshua's photograph will probably protest that there are only six. It is true that only six remain. The first leaf has since dried up and fallen off, presumably as a normal part of maturation. Like baby teeth that fall out, so to speak.

Although he's not a whole lot taller now than he has been, his trunk has thickened a lot, and he's no longer in danger of being toppled by a rain drop. His color has also darkened. Perhaps a tan?

split-rock-dead (29K)

I would like to be able to report so positively about all my other plants. Alas, the split-rock cactus has not recovered from the savage attack by the mockingbird last March. It seemed for a while that it would come back under the protection of the cactus dome, but that has not been the case. It is now but a shriveled shadow of its former self. I'm sure it has seen the beckoning light, and it is now time to consign it to the great compost pile in the sky.

black-thumb_tn (4K)

Keeping plants alive is even more challenging than I thought it would be, wholly apart from the insidious effects of my own black thumb. First, there is the problem of water. Things in pots seem to need a drink virtually every day or the soil dries out completely. Also, I have realized that the garden hose is a very efficient solar-powered water heater, and on a couple of occasions I've come quite close to giving the plants a scalding shower.

solar-heated-water (19K)

Second, there is the matter of the pots. Under the rays of the sun, the pots heat up, and I'm afraid the plants poor little roots are going to bake. It's as if they live in their own private brick oven. As a preventive measure, I've moved them all to a new location that is shaded during much of the afternoon by the ficus tree.

The other big bother about plants is that every time one wants to go away for a few days, one has to prevail upon the neighbors to water them. However, Auntie Wanda did a fine job of plant-sitting while I was camping.