Thursday, November 27, 2008

Near Death Experience

I opened the door and saw dead leaves. Julie commented, "It's dead. You might as well throw it out."

We had been gone for two weeks and had arranged for a neighbor to water the flowers. Everything looked fine except the hibiscus. It appears the plant had been watered but a large plant in the heat of June needed much more water than it had received. Among dried, dead leaves there were six or perhaps eight leaves that were wilted but not quite gone.

I gave it a gallon of water, then a second and after a while even more until it was drenched. A vigorous shake caused the dead leaves to drop leaving bare branches and a half-dozen sick leaves. The next morning the surviving leaves were crisp but had brown dead blotches. In a few days small new leaves began to develop. A few weeks later a blossom formed and opened. For the next few weeks there were neither flowers nor buds among the new leaves.

Hibiscus with seven new blossoms. (Larger version)

In September the buds began returning. Soon, one blossom was opening each day. Then there were two on the same day. Then a surprise. Four blossoms opened. Normally, one blossom will open each day and wither several hours later. On November 16 seven blossoms opened. THe plant is healthy and thriving.

Hibiscus blossom.
Hibiscus blossom. (Larger version)

We have a new threat. Wilted blossoms drop to the floor and attract feline attention. One of our cats batted the blossoms around a few times before getting a taste. After a few days he began eating the wilted blossoms. I kept an eye on him anticipating his gluttony. Now, he tries to knock the blossoms off the plant before they have wilted.

He has an appetite for hibiscus but I have a water bottle with a pump. It's a good thing that cats don't like water.


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