Tuesday, June 16, 2009

plant surgery

My beloved plant, Fern, has now exceeded ten feet in height. The tips of her leaves brush our living room ceiling. Amazingly enough, I think that she's continued to grow in our new house, which surprises me because she receives much less light there. My mom informed me that cutting her new growth at the top would kill all of the green leaves below, so we were forced to conduct "surgery" on Fern, as I called it.

Here is Fern's pre-surgery picture:

To conduct surgery, my mom and I took a huge butcher knife and cut all the way through Fern's stem about two feet above the ground (see the post-surgery picture below). We replanted Fern (the green leafy part, not the stump) into a new pot with fresh soil and plenty of water and firmly staked her to keep her vertical through this initial period of shock (when she may go limp). Lord willing, after a few weeks of special attention, Fern should sprout new roots and grow normally again, except now she's two feet shorter. Although it seems a little weird, my mom encouraged me to water Fern's stump often and in a few months, the stump should sprout new growth and I'll have another plant! Amazing! Let's hope that this works. I will be devastated if I've accidentally killed her. Please pray that Fern lives!

The (hopefully) new and improved Fern and her stump:

Also, just a side note, Fern is the only plant that I call by name. For whatever reason, one day last year I randomly decided that she is a girl and her name is Fern (I know, real original... and she's not even really a fern!). My many other flowers and plants do NOT have names. So don't start calling me the crazy plant lady... yet!:)

Once we finished Fern's surgery, the four of us conducted a different type of surgery on the tree in front of our house: amputation of limbs. My dad brought his chainsaw from home and he saved us several hundred dollars by trimming all of the lower branches off the tree himself. He even taught Brad how to use a chainsaw!

Below is the "before" picture of the tree. We wanted to trim the tree to allow more sunlight into our front yard and living room windows. We may cut the entire tree down at some point, but we figured that we'd ease into it for now and decide what to do this fall, once the leaves fall from the tree.

While the yard is still shady, cutting off all of the lower branches made a huge difference in that now you can better see our house from the street. My dad hung from the tree 12 feet from the ground at one point, his legs wrapped tightly around the trunk, while he cut the last few branches. Not bad for a 65-year-old man! Here is the "after" picture:

Here is a closer glimpse of all of the tree limbs and leaves that we cut into pieces and stuffed into eight large garbage bags.

There is something about manual labor that always makes me feel so productive. I do love a weekend of it every now and then.


Smiling Mama said...

Wow! I am impressed. I hope things were ok with your mom. I would recommend thinking long and hard before fully getting rid of that tree. You can't imagine how much the shade is helping to lower your summer energy bill!

My thoughts are with Fern :)

Organized Living by Amy said...

What a difference! It looks great! I wish you would have taken a pic of dad hanging from the tree :)

Katie said...

I was just reading about this kind of "surgery" for moving geraniums indoors for the winter...I look forward to hearing how Fern fares. I bet this will work great! The house really looks fantastic! Inside and Out.