Sunday, January 10, 2010

creeping fig

When it occurred to me that our prominent chimney was a boring backdrop for the front garden, I hustled down to the Marina Garden Center and purchased a one-gallon creeping fig to plant in front of it. For months, I'd been admiring the way these climbers cling closely to brick and masonry walls. Plus the fact that CalTrans plants them along local freeways seemed to promise that they'd thrive anywhere.

Sometime during the two weeks before Christmas, I planted the creeping fig with my usual TLC and meticulous ritual:

  • dig a hole twice the size of the rootball;
  • fill the hole with rainbarrel water three times;
  • add finished compost to the bottom of the hole;
  • place plant in hole;
  • cover roots; 
  • mulch the immediate area deeply; and
  • think pure and photosynthetic thoughts.
Then I went out of town from December 22 through January 3, and returned to find some very crispy brownish leaves standing droopily in front of the chimney. On closer inspection, however, I found bright green growth here and there, so made sincere apologies along with lavish applications of water. Today I pruned off the last of the crispy stuff and did some gentle staking.

The lavish watering will stop soon. Creeping fig is a drought-resistant plant yet will require vigilant pruning to stay within the space I've allotted for it.

Creep onward and upward, little figgy! Be a lush backdrop for next year's calla lilies.

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POSToccupations by Frances Talbott-White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License