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Resurrecting the Plumeria

     I was filling the dog dish with the little brown pebbles of food that Rocco nibbles away at every morning when I saw. . . Could it be?

     Green? Green in the pot at the corner? The plumeria cutting had been brownish-black for the longest time. Pretty sure it was dead—or had been dead. I'd been putting off its repeal and replacement until warmer weather. Okay, not exactly "repeal"—more like pull the dead plant out of its pot and plant a fresh one.

     One regal plumeria rules our patio, rising from its large round clay pot with pale yellow blossoms. Its slender green leaves shade the bedroom window. Actually, they shade the bathroom window, but that doesn't sound so good. The regal plumeria had a few low-lying branches that really didn't need to be there as they didn't add much to the symmetry. The obvious thing would be to cut them off and throw them to the winds!

     Should've done that. Would've done that, except I had two empty pots at the corner of the house and one around the corner and there were exactly three of those branches. What better than to fill them with gorgeous plumeria?

     I'd always heard plumeria were difficult to grow from cuttings, but son Bryan said I couldn't fail. He'd help me, show me where to cut, how deep to plant the cuttings and—most critically—how wet to keep the soil and when to let it dry out.

     We cut the three offending branches, put them in properly-soiled pots, added water and voila! A month later, three beautiful plumeria rose from the soil!

     I wish. Bryan came by on the weekends and after my "Hi, Mom!" hug, he hurried out to the patio to check our cuttings. They always looked good when he came. A few green leaves sprouted on each and eventually even a pale yellow blossom or two. I counted the leaves every day so I'd know when more came and I counted the days 'til I was s'posed to let the soil dry out and when the time came, I stopped with the watering.

     Somewhere along the line those cuttings decided they didn't like where they were or how wet they were or how dry they were or something else they never told me about. They didn't talk much so how was I to know? Maybe they were missing Bryan. . . he'd assumed all was okay and stopped checking them.

     One by one the cuttings turned brown and then black and I tried to give them a bit of love, like the plant experts tell you. I touched them lovingly. The blackened leaves leapt off their stems and fell to the ground.

     Then I read you should never let your plumeria get too wet, so for the next four weeks I ignored them. Maybe they were hibernating? Didn't do any good. Wasn't long before I found I could lift the stems right out of their pots—no roots, nada. All three pots, all three plants. Still I left them there in the soil.

     A few days later I overheard some people talking about growing plumeria from cuttings. "You just stick them in the ground and they grow into beautiful, full-flowering plants." Wha-a-a-t???

     So I was really surprised when I saw that glimmer of green. I spun around and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a pale green sprout springing forth from the blackened plumeria in the pot at the corner. Could it be a resurrection? Do plumeria do that?

     I was going to say hope springs eternal, but that being a cliché, I won't say it. I'll just think it.

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