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RIP Orchid Cactus

Once upon a time, I lived in a beautiful place called SW Florida. At one time, I worked at a garden center, where I was able to get snips and bits of this and that. My yard was full of beautiful plants. One of my proudest achievements was growing an epiphyllum from a tiny piece of leaf that had broken off and fallen on the ground in the garden center greenhouse.
It took 3 years to bloom, and I had forgotten what color it was supposed to be. It turned out to be a beautiful fuschia pink. It bloomed every year thereafter, until it somehow started to die. I managed to keep a small part of it alive, but that tiny piece just got sicker and sicker and today, it rotted away to nothing.

That's just one in a long string of my plants that have died since I got to Gainesville. Some succumbed to pests and some to diseases, but losing this one broke my heart all over again.

My beautiful Thanksgiving cactus, now dead

I already have other beautiful plants, but there is something about the plants that died that just brings home just how much I've lost, and even the tiniest thing that I lose now hurts as if someone stabbed me in the heart.

I literally gave away hundreds of plants over the years, and I still give away as many as I can grow. I just miss my big oak trees and my purple leaf plum and my fruit trees that gave me so much bounty through the years. I even miss having to bring in 200 container plants from cold and storms and figure out where on earth to put them all. I never used my dining room table for eating. I only saved it to keep the plants on when they had to be protected. Every year I'd threaten to give them all away, and I would give away a lot of them, but I would always have more the next year, and once again, my house, porch and garage would be packed with them during cold snaps and storms.

My Gorgeous Clivia, almost killed by snails

I went back to my house and dug up many of my plants and put them into my ex-roommate's yard. I hear most of those are dead now, save the most hardy of them that survive neglect. Luckily, a nice person took some of them to the yard across the street and is taking good care of them.

Plants in Jillaurie's Yard

I love my little yard here, don't get me wrong. I love the courtyard, where I sit in the mornings with my coffee and make dream plans in my head for all the wonderful fruits and vegetables I'm going to grow in there. I love the hibiscus that is so tall it grows over my courtyard wall and welcomes me to the day with beautiful blooms. I love the little strips outside the wall where I can plant my flowers and slip in a few edible ornamentals as well. I love my living room windows, where the sun pours in on those plants that need a lot more shade than I currently have. I'm grateful for everything I've been blessed with here.

But I still miss my big yard with the gorgeous oaks and the abundant flowers. I guess I always will.