Green Thumb (for Beth)

June 2, 2010 at 7:51 AM (Inedible pleasures, random musings)


I just put the cover on some rice to simmer, and thought I’d take a moment to write you with the morning’s revelation…of sorts.

I decided to deal with the problems of our ‘burning-bush’….

Now, it isn’t like the poor thing hasn’t had difficulties in the past. A few years ago, Bob-the-lawn-man talked my mother into allowing him to do some pruning. He promptly lopped off ALL of the lower branches of the ash tree in front- despite my mother asking him only to trim a few, certain branches of a certain limb that were dropping below head-height over the walk-way. And then he attacked the burning-bush: it was about six feet tall at the time, and he flat-topped it down to a two-foot clip-job that any barber might be proud of!

I was aghast. My mother’s mouth quivered when she came home that day; I don’t think she even noticed the freshly-cut lawn.

Needless to say, he hasn’t been allowed to do any pruning since, and I’ve done my best to coax the burning-bush back into shape. But you know such things (as much of gardening) are a test of patience; last year it finally reached a leggy reflection of its former glory.

But this spring, something very unusual has happened: two of the main branches- they both faced the lawn- budded and bloomed along with the rest in the dawn of spring. And little leaves grew from those buds- like the others. And then, they stopped mid-sentence…

…and began to whither and dry. I’ve checked for any sign of disease or pest- there are none. I have never seen such a thing, have you?

The only thing that these two branches had in common were their proximity to the lawn, their closeness to the sidewalk, which makes me wonder. Winter and the wind and Bob played no part- of that I am sure.

So, this morning I cut them off. It is fully a bit over one-third of the plant now missing. And my rice is done now; I will eat it with some dal, of course, as I try to listen to the sound of the wind through the pines- though we have no pines. But it slows my quickening breath.



  1. musical said,


    We recently lost our Neem tree back home (that has been with us for a long, long time) due to a storm..

    • Elaichi et Cetera said,

      I am so sorry for the loss of a fixture of sentiment- and I love neem! I hope something new emerges for you from the splinters.

  2. Linda said,

    What’s this, no pines, in the great north woods!??!

    I don’t have a burning bush (though aren’t the the best, in autumn!), but I do have some gigantic arborvitae (2 stories tall) and inkberries that my own bob-the-lawnman isn’t allowed to touch — that, because the birds love ’em and I love the birds!

    Wishing you luck there, Pel 🙂

    • Elaichi et Cetera said,

      Thanks for the wish of luck, Linda!

      I live in the city; several miles north and east are vast forests of pine, yes, and it’s been ages since I’ve wandered them in wind. My great-grandmother once lived at the edge of such a stand, and I will never forget the sound of rain on the needles!

  3. shankari said,

    My parents were talking about their curry leaf tree that they are afraid will die in their absence..

    • Elaichi et Cetera said,

      I hope it hasn’t- such a precious thing!

  4. Anita said,

    Sorry, Pel, can’t help you there. But hope your bush will regain some of its original glory soon enough.

    • Elaichi et Cetera said,

      It died. I don’t know if it was from a season of too-much rain or… but new things come.

  5. Miri said,

    I had to look up what a burning bush was – but sorry – am of no help. I am still ruing the death of most of my potted plants when hubby and maid forgot to put them outside before joining me on our holiday – 46C weather in May in Delhi – enough said 😦

    • Elaichi et Cetera said,

      Oh, the poor things dried up! I hope this year goes better for your gardening ventures. 🙂

  6. Siri said,

    Poor burning-bush. 😦 Hope it grows back soon. Amen.


    • Elaichi et Cetera said,

      Your prayer was appreciated, and I think it may have been answered in an unexpected way- thanks, Siri!

  7. Rajani said,

    Hi… my first time here!! you’ve a wonderful blog… off to explore 🙂

    • Elaichi et Cetera said,

      Thanks! Enjoy-

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