Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Superpower, My Retirement Plan

This is an aeonium, a kind of cactus-like plant that originated in the Canary Islands. It grows green in the shade and turns dark purple in the sun.



My mother-in-law gave me a small cutting of one many years ago. She made great efforts to explain to me how expensive that cutting was. This single sprig would cost me hundreds of dollars at a flower shop. I thanked her profusely, went home and stuck it in the dirt.

These days this plant is the center of all our conversations, on the phone or in person. See, my mother-in-law has a very green thumb and I do not. Once I killed an orchid so expensive and so beautiful we all cried. And yet her aeonium has become this sad anorexic looking thing. And mine -- for reasons unknown -- has become this:



And this:


Even neighbors have stopped by to comment on my cactus growing super powers.

Pieces fall off and I stick them back in the ground. Two months later and I find this:


So last time my mother-in-law came over and our conversation naturally went to the aeonium, she began to calculate how much I could sell the little branches for. The idea was born. I don't need no stinkin' bank. I don't need no investments, no 401K (no, really, they don't even have those here). All I need is some dirt and a little rain.

Now, while researching this blog post I just discovered these things online cost like two bucks for a potful. We won't be telling my mother-in-law or my neighbors. Okay? My Plan B retirement plan is cat breeding.




16 comments:

Hilary said...

That's a very cool looking cactus and clearly it loves you. You need to give your MIL a cutting which has thrived.

Kappa no He said...

I keep telling her to take as much as she likes, but she sternly refuses. It makes me guess about all sorts of cultural differences: is she just being kind by saying that doesn't want any or is it something else? I'll put some in a nice ceramic pot and take it over. I'm sure she'll like that. I usually try to get her funky and exotic plants. She likes to show off to her neighbors and, of course, she does kill them like I do.

Pat said...

Yes, we all have our special areas of green-thumbness, don't we? I always cringe when someone gives me an orchid because I know it's only going to last about fifteen minutes in my house.

That aeonium looks like a smart idea. Wonder where your M-I-L got the idea it was so valuable though?

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful plant. However, it was more fun to ooh and ahh over the pretty colors when we thought it was worth thousands of dollars. Ha! Ha! Builderhog from Arkansas.

Kappa no He said...

Pat, orchids are very fragile aren't they? Not fair.

And my neighbors seem to think the aeonium is worth a bunch too. Maybe just here?

Builderhog, exactly! I want to see pictures of your rafting excursion, btw. Sounded like a blast.

Anonymous said...

Shades of the Dutch Tulip Bubble of the 1600's. Sell early and often before the price collapses. Our garden isn't doing as well as I'd hoped. This acid, red clay they call topsoil around here is only fit to make mud huts with. You have to add so much lime, gypsum and compost to it that it'd almost be cheaper to have my mom FedEx some of that good Iowa loam here. It's no help that the neighbors think ground squirrels and ground hogs are cute and welcome. I've got a den of whistle pigs under the decks of the neighbors on either side of me, and a gopher city under my concrete slab patio. None of those pests seem to be scared enough of the dogs to leave, either. I've trapped a half a dozen gophers, but they're breeding faster than I can catch and release them into the nearby golf course. A real Chip 'n Dale Goofy Gopher story ("After you!" "No. After YOU!" "Oh, Let's go together!")
imomomo

Kappa no He said...

Ha!! I love every bit of that. My father says he's resorted to tiny claymores.

plaidearthworm said...

OMG, you've discovered the plant version of Beanie Babies. ;)

Kappa no He said...

Exactly!

Woman in a Window said...

Don't you love it when you can be successful in the eyes of MIL? Well, you, not me.

Who's breeding with the cats? That might be freaky.

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a marvellous plant and a very entertaining post!

Kappa no He said...

Woman in a Window, oh, if I can get someone to breed with the cats I will never have a money worry again. We'll start up our own freak show and take on the world.

Thank you, Crafty! I love your name.

Frank Baron said...

It's a beautiful plant and I think you're being entirely too modest. Those thumbs of yours are probably emerald. :)

Kappa no He said...

I've got a hydrangea here that begs to differ.

(Package still in foyer, so sorry.)

Katie said...

An interesting observation with regard to cacti. Those gifted, green-thumbed individuals often have a difficult time with cacti. The reason being that cacti don't like the love. Garden enthusists often want to prune, water, fertilize...essentially nurture and in my humble opinion, cacti will have none of it. What a wonderful plant by the way. Wish I could get something growing like that in Ne. Cheers the Reed Clan!

Kappa no He said...

Hey girl! I think that is it exactly. It's my tough love stance that works on them. Prune, fertilize, water! Humph!

I've got a bunch of pictures to send to you. And an email to send. Give the kiddies a hug and kiss for me.