March 11, 2012
You may recall that my husband brought home a tiny potted Christmas tree a few days before the holiday. I did some research and identified it as a red spruce. As far as I could tell, it needed to be outside, and we had no place to do that.
So I was like, ok, at least I can water it. The tiny thing rewarded me by putting out new growth. Except…then it stopped. Its needles got all dry and crunchy looking.
It was kind of tragic. And I suspected at least partly preventable- by more water. For some reason the tree was rooted in a planting mix that would not hold water. I had to put its pot on a towel to catch the water that ran right out the bottom every time I gave it a drink. To get enough water in the soil, I needed to water it in tiny amounts- every five minutes or so.
Either I fell down on the watering and/or the hot, dry air in my apartment got to it, and the poor thing got all dried out. I started going down the garden path of How to Save This Tree. I’d re-pot it in a bigger pot, with better dirt (and maybe some worm compost from that time when I did the worm composting). I’d buy it a nice big tray, fill it with rocks and water, to create a microclimate. I would never forget to water it!
It was like a motherless baby bird- the kind that needs feeding fresh-caught worms every two hours (i.e. impossible to resist, but also impossible to take care of). There’s just something so appealing about digging deep to do everything a fussy plant needs. What really happens in these situations is I spend a lot of money on pots/special soil/ etcetera, and the plant dies anyway because I was doing it wrong. Or I get distracted by the million other things I need to be taking care of, and the plant suffers, which makes me feel like a Bad Person.
I considered my options, and decided to take advantage of the NYC custom of putting stuff you don’t want anymore, but might be useful to someone else, out on the curb. People get rid of books, dishes, old clothes, old sewing machines, furniture and whatnot this way. If no one picks it up the garbagemen take it, but at least there’s a chance that someone will find it useful.
I didn’t hang around to see its fate.