Monday, January 7, 2013

Lil' Ruby

Aunt Ruby is the single surviving sibling from my mother's family of seven girls and two boys.  She lived with us when I was very young and we were always close.  Since we  moved back to NC, I try to visit Aunt Ruby often and call her at least once every week.

She has tended a huge green plant for years.  It is so large that it reaches the ceiling and she has to get someone to move it for her.  It spends the summer on her porch and occupies most of the guest bedroom during the winter.  It is huge.  In October Aunt Ruby told me excitedly that her plant "had a baby," the second one in many years.  She said she had potted the "baby" for me and wanted me to have it.  I gulped as she said, "I don't know how many years I have left and this way you could have a little part of me."

I wanted to tell her that was a responsibility far too awesome.  (Not to mention that I tend not to have good luck with any house plants save African Violets.)  Aunt Ruby is active but she is elderly by any standards, so she does not have a lot of years left.  But the idea that the plant will represent her in some way is frightening indeed.  To make the "gift" even more burdensome is the fact that the plant is ugly.

But what could I say?  Except a gracious "thank you, I love it."  I made a visit to Aunt Ruby in late October and she proudly showed me the plant and gave me detailed instructions on re-potting, watering, fertilizing, etc.  When I got ready to leave, I tenderly placed the plant in my car.  As I started to drive away, my aunt called out, "Make sure you take good care of Lil' Ruby."  Lil' Ruby???  She has named the plant Ruby?  And I must care for it forever?

The plant had two leaves on it when I brought it to our house.  I put it near a window with south-eastern exposure and Lil' Ruby loves it there!  She has grown to a frightening degree and given me a new leaf already.

Little Ruby
The large leaf is more than 14 inches in diameter.
And still growing.
She ADORES my house!

I have no idea (nor does Aunt Ruby) what specific plant this is.  I suspect a type of Philodendron but only because I can't think of anything else it could be.  Every time I talk with Aunt Ruby, she asks about the plant as if it were one of my children.  She was delighted when I sent her a photograph of Ruby's new leaf.

So I'm stuck with a giant plant with an equally giant care for it and make it thrive at least as long as Aunt Ruby does.

I will share a secret with you.  I secretly call "Lil' Ruby" by a more appropriate name.  "Audrey II."


The Bug said...

Oh MY - that is an "interesting" plant :) Good for you for taking on the responsibiilty (although I don't see how you could have gotten out of it).

KGMom said...

No no no--the plant does not say "feed me"--does it?

It does look like a philodendron, similar to an elephant ear plant.

Cheri said...

It does look a bit like an elephant ear plant - we had them in FL. I too don't do well with plants. It sounds like it will survive well enough without a lot of fuss!

Carolina Mts

kks said...

what a wonderfully honest story! i love it! so sweet and funny...

Madi and Mom said...

What a beautiful emerald green it is too. Boy do I know the responsibility you feel. Years ago we were given some type of bulb that had been in my husbands family for years or at least it was to off spring of the bulb. We decided to let my bil be in charge since he is a Plant Pathologist.
Hugs and welcome back to blogville
Tell Lucy and Ellie hello

Ms. A said...

What a wonderful gesture and I'm so glad you accepted it and it seems to be thriving! I'd be terrified. The only thing I have luck with, is growing dust on my silk plants.

Ginnie said...

Well ... let's just hope that you get to love it since it sounds like it's going to be with you for a very long time ... you may need to start planning that new addition to the house !

KB said...

You really got my funny bone with that one. I had a good friend do something similar to me... with an ugly plant that she'd had since she was a child. I am horrendous at keeping house plants alive. So far, it's okay but it's touch and go.

So, I related to your story to a huge degree! I was laughing and laughing and laughing!

It's so good to have you back.

Rudee said...

My, what an, um, attractive plant you have there. No really, I mean it. ;-)

Just think, it's breathing oxygen into your home. All will be well. Just pray she has stopped birthing offspring now, or you'll be taken over.


What a sweet tale about you, aunt ruby and the plant. To think you mean so much to her that she gave you the baby of her valued plant. Just love the story -- barbara

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh how I love this. We had a bed full of Lil' Ruby's and they grew so big they were dwarfing our large house. might need to expand your interior. :0
For sure a philodendra. (of the large variety)
Your Aunt Ruby sounds like a gem; a one of a kind gem.

Carolina Linthead said...

LOL! I, too, love best to you and Audrey II, my friend :-)

Cicero Sings said...

Well this accounting brought a twinkle to my eye! Better you than me ... I'm terrible with plants yet me Mither had a right green thumb. When I was a young thing ... all the ladies had windows full of plants. By the time I started up house ... everyone was going to plastic (dust collectors) and now they don't bother at all. Yes you are carrying on the torch!!! May the flame never die. LOL

Peruby said...

Get yourself to the nearest nursery and buy a few back-up Ruby's (just in case!) LOL!

Audrey II indeed! I'd be locking my bedroom door at night. Heh.

Vicki Lane said...

Such a responsibility! Hope the Golden Girls don't get jealous.

robin andrea said...

What a wonderful story and a beautiful plant. I'm sure it will survive and thrive with you. I understand the responsibility of caring for such a gift, I have a golden barrel cactus that my father dug out of the desert in his yard so many years ago. We have carted that prickly, heavy plant around for more than 20 years. Love sometimes has a tender green thumb!

troutbirder said...

Oh my. This touches a nerve for me. I've had three or four of some unknown kind of giant growing plants over the years. I treasured them all until when they reached the living room ceiling, Mrs T. invariably annouced that now that they had grown up, it was time for them to leave.....

Janet QueenofSeaford said...

What a charming story. I love pass-along plants. For your aunt to have this plant for sooo many years is wonderful.
I believe it is a Philodendron bipinnatifidum apparently it blooms.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks, everyone for your comments.

Madi - Too bad I'm not as lucky as your mom. No others to tend the plant.

Ms. A - Given that we have two Golden Retrievers, this plant collects an unbelievable amount of dust and dander. It already takes a lot of time to keep the leaves clean.

Peruby - LOL! Actually, I will find one to replace Ruby if she goes before my Aunt Ruby does.

Vicki - The Golden Girls were surprisingly uninterested in the plant. They didn't even sniff or indicate anything new was around.

Troutbirder - Your wife is one clever lady!

Janet - Thanks! Yes, there is little doubt that you have nailed the plant. The photographs were a bit intimidating, though. That thing does get big.

Jayne said...

Since Ruby has infused this plant with all the strength it needs, I'd bet it will be a long lived, happy species! :c)