Gloria Trotter, Countywide & Sun
Two heat-related deaths have been reported at 412 S.Ninth St., Tecumseh.
Pronounced finally, completely and irretrievably dead were a mature rubber tree plant and a juvenile hydrangea bush.
Homeowner Gloria Trotter admitted that the rubber tree's demise is at least partially her fault. Due to a very busy spring schedule and the resulting exhaustion, she was derelict in regularly watering the poor plant even before moving it to the front porch once the frost danger was past.
That, combined with an unjustified faith in the inevitability of spring rains, obviously weakened the tropical plant to the point where it could not survive this summer's scorching heat.
"Honest, I watered it every couple of days after moving it outside," she said. "But I guess it was just too late."
The plant was a treasured member of the family, she said, since it was originally a gift from close friends when Wayne's mother died in 2003. After Wayne's father moved into an assisted living center a few years later, the Trotters brought the plant home with them, where it had resided in relatively good health since.
"I just didn't want to admit it was gone," Gloria said. "For weeks, it remained green and seemed fine. But in the past week or so, the poor thing began to droop alarmingly. Finally, it just gave up."
While the hydrangea bush did not have the sentimental history of the rubber tree, its loss is just as painful, she said.
"I've always wanted a hydrangea in the yard," she said. "But spring is always so busy, I just never got around to getting one. This year, when I went to get my annual batch of geraniums, the hydrangeas called out to me. I picked one out and proudly planted it in front of the house.
"And I did not neglect this one. I watered it virtually every day. It hung on bravely for weeks, but the last couple of weeks were just too much. It's completely brown and shriveled. It's gone."
Trotter said she is consoled by the fact that her two pots of mother-in-law tongue, which once belonged to her mother, seem to be doing fine. So are the hens and chickens (plants all), also a legacy of her mother, and the irises. Two-thirds of the geraniums are struggling but so far surviving, while those in a third planter have mysteriously succumbed to whatever.
Since the plants mentioned above are the extent of her gardening (not counting long-established trees and shrubs that flourish with no attention at all), Trotter's reputation as a black thumb is intact.
"Guess I should have mulched that hydrangea like the instructions directed," she admitted. "But, really, I blame the heat and lack of rain."
No effort will be made to replace the lost plants this year or any year until the weather gets back to normal — if it ever does.
Mon, September 19, 2011