Here’s Diane’s Tip ‘O the Day: YOU may believe it more ecologically friendly and exciting to bestow a live plant over flowers as a gift; but unless you KNOW said recipient is an indoor plant enthusiast (NOT to be necessarily confused with an Outdoor Gardener type like Bill), DO NOT choose the Live Plant over the Cut Flowers!

       NOT wanted:    dead OR alive…

Call us unappreciative, but our recent loss was complicated by a ‘thought that counts’ gift for Bill that obviously originated from Hell: a live indoor plant I have promptly named The Pain in the Butt Variety (a.k.a. Medusa, for her deceptively attractive pink flower bush that promises love but comes with a BIG price.)

Reading the vast (multi-document) directions for maintaining its fragile existence (…that is,IF one were so inclined), I promptly renamed it from Azalea Bonsai to ‘The Biggest Pain in the Ass HousePlant on the Planet’. (i.e. if there is a MORE demanding plant, its name be Cat. So now we’re actually talkin’ another SPECIES!)

Let me describe its various Directions for Life (with much-discussed footnotes representing actual conversation trends between The Peanut Gallery and I):

1.    “NEVER use softened water.” Guess what our house runs on??? (The only non-softened water tap in the house resides in the sunroom down a flight of stairs that aging knees can often only contemplate with reflection on ‘days gone by’ when stairs were NOT an issue….) There go my knees.

2.    “Mist daily, as dry indoor air will dry out the plant.” I don’t even mist BILL, much less other things.

3.    “Water daily.” What, isn’t this a Plant Camel? My take on the matter is that it should HOARD water for leaner times and should be able to survive a complete 2 months without a drop. Why I have cactus.

4.    “Place in a well-lighted area with two or more hours of filtered sun.” Don’t you think if we HAD such a place indoors, my butt wouldn’t already be occupying it?? There goes my 5-minute sunspot….

5.    ‘If the tree gets too dry submerge the entire pot in water.’ Given its size, there goes my bathtub. The (too-small) sink is obviously OUT.

6.    ‘Check soil with finger to determine if water is needed.’ There go my nails.

7.    “Azalea bonsai are susceptible to aphid and spider mites.” Great. I can add more troops to the ongoing Battle of the Ants. The insects are winning around here. And now we’ve provided the enemy with his very own battlefield and a whole new line of troops.

8.    “The plant should be fertilized very six weeks.” I advocated a dog or cat who could undoubtedly be trained to deposit said fertilizer directly, but my proposal was summarily and rudely rejected by The Peanut Gallery.

9.    Pruning: “a fundamental principle in developing dwarf trees is that the tree branches should be pruned to conform to the limited space available for root growth.” Myself, I am advocating the Jack in the Beanstalk method. Plant the damn thing and let ‘er rip.

10.                       “Every other spring your bonsai will need its roots pruned.” Yeah, like a person who can’t remember beloved friends’ birthdays after years of special training and calendar notes will recall an exercise for a plant that’s only undertaken EVERY OTHER YEAR? I’ll likely note it when it dies.

There was ONE good concluding note, however, that offered hope:

“Plant material, such as this product, should not be eaten. Some contain toxins.”

Completely Obnoxious children CAN, suddenly, be invited over to dinner.

Maybe we should keep it. After all….it’s the THOUGHT that counts

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