Sunday, July 31, 2011

Does a tree have 9 lives like a cat?

This is my backyard after a Tornado/Twister roared thru Central Florida on March 30, 2011. All my huge trees were uprooted, ripped out of the ground and turned on their sides. It was difficult to pick any particular plant out of the pile. I searched for my little Gossypium Barbadense, or Egyptian Cotton tree that I had started from a seed about 10 months earlier. This poor little plant had already survived freezing temperatures and managed to come back....was it gone now?

The Gossypium Barbadense is a survivor. Look at her now below, she stands about 4.5 foot tall and gets more beautiful with each day. On a visit with a group of master gardeners to the Polasek Museum & Gardens, I came across the specimen that was there and had just flowered. The flower creates an actual cotton ball in which seeds are located. I loved the tree with it's unusual shape leaves and cut a couple of these seed pods to take with me and attempt to propagate. I was successful with starting 3, kept one for myself and gave two away, the two I gave away did not survive.....and no more seeds. And now my surviving plant was lost.

The rest of the story since I started my little tree.....The original was removed from the Polasek Gardens, so there will be no more seeds available from there to grow another. As I began to clean up my yard, look at what I found. My little cotton tree was safe and standing proudly between the fallen trees.

This is not the end of this story. When the trees were cleared from my yard and cut up to slices to remove a tree fell right on my little tree. But is was still there. I had to cut it back to about 1 foot high with no leaves. Talk about a "Charlie Brown" tree. I had to protect it from someone coming along and just pulling it out of the ground thinking it was nothing more then a twig!

But it did thrive and grow, maybe better then it would have had it been shaded as before. As I am slowly replacing all my shade loving plants with sun loving varieties, my little Gossypium Barbadense remains one of my favorites.....but look at what she has been through. First below freezing temperatures of the winter, then a tornado and then being crushed. I am hoping that it will flower this year and produce its own cotton pods with seeds.......

Here is a leaf close up with it's unique shape and purple veins & stems, which measures across about 8-10 inches. Oh, I forgot to mention that my home is currently for sale, so I will have to leave this little tree behind at some point in time. With new seeds collected and propagated I will surely keep one in a portable pot to go with me.

Anyone want to put their name on a list for a plant if I am lucky to get some seeds?

1 comment:

Susan said...

Glad to see you're back! What a story...sometimes it seems that when we try so hard to get a plant to's like two steps forward and one step backward. I'm so glad to see your little tree made it, and I do hope it blooms and sets seed before you move.

What a mess to clean up in your backyard. My sister is experiencing the same thing right now. One large tree down...full sun now...and all the plants below are shade loving.

Good luck with your new plantings and the sale of your home.