A Tree Grows In My Apartment

It was given to me as a gift. Fragrant of the forest and Christmas, it was sprinkled with silver glitter – like a handful of stars trapped in a green, earthy sky. I was immediately taken with its symbolism, its mysterious life, its small and delicate perfection.

For weeks I kept it at work: a pretty accompaniment that countered the surrounding electricity and stress with its quiet growth and perennial tranquility. But eventually I felt it was time to bring it home. It is a chilly and dark walk home during those ending months, so I felt obligated to hold it close – this emerald hatchling unused to the provoking cold.

Once home, I placed it by the brightest window, soon noticed that it was leaning away from the light, like a spoiled child turning from a carefully prepared meal. Perhaps the sun was an insult to its shadowy past, a life nestled in the myth and darkness of the woods.

A Bed Of Roses

To add to my little tree’s alarm, I re-potted it. Its roots were balled and tangled like a fist in its old home, and I could hear it knocking to get out. But I fear it went into shock – it started to look gaunt, and began weeping tiny green needles into the brand new soil.

That was about a month ago. The tree maintains its stubborn tiny-ness, despite the somewhat breathless claims on its birth tag that it could very possibly grow to 13 feet tall. It continues to live, without doing anything as vulgar as thrive. Out of politeness, it does not flourish.

But now it’s raining; the raindrops are bouncing off the ground with a quick and liquid velocity. Perhaps my little tree will recognize this dark weather and reach towards the soft, gray air in a sudden burst of sentimentality.



18 responses to “A Tree Grows In My Apartment

  1. It’s so precious. I love all of my little green friends…and all of the big ones, too. I hope your little guy starts to thrive!

  2. Barbara Rodgers

    Looks like it will be a pretty indoor Chritmas tree for years to come! It’s shape is a little different – I wonder what kind of evergreen it is?

  3. I emailed a horticulturalist friend about your tender little tree. Perhaps she’ll have a tip or two.

    Isn’t it amazing how we develop such close relationships with these green and living creatures? I turned my living and dining rooms into a veritable greenhouse for three weeks during this year’s freezes. It was worth it to save them, although I do believe next year I’ll find some strapping youngster to get the ficus tree in.

  4. Good for you in giving it a home. All of the plants in my home are rescues from people who were laid off, retired or moved.

  5. I think you nailed it on the button, a bit too much shock without recovery time for the location change, lighting change and soil change. It’s hard to tell, but I wonder if it’s a mini-dwarf or if it’s a seedling and meant to be planted outside. Did any tags come with it or a sticker on the pot to identify what it is? Kinda looks like in the Arborvitae family.

    Most indoor evergreens would like a morning and late afternoon sun and avoid direct light. If placed in a South or West facing window, keep your trees a little bit away from the direct sun, but close enough to the window to receive good light. Water as needed and not on a fixed schedule.

    Send it lots of good healing energy and hopefully it will adjust to the changes 🙂

  6. Oh, bless dragonfly! She really has wonderful blogs – you can find her monthly tips here. She is in St. Louis, though, so if you’re far north or far south, you’ll have to pick, choose and adjust.

  7. I only have one plant – The Plant Who Lived – and I treat it abominably. One time I tried to pay attention to directions and it almost died. I hope you find your own system of appropriate horticultural abuse that makes your little tree happy!

  8. “Out of politeness, it does not flourish.” God I love that. Anyway, the little tree will be fine. Just keep giving him a bigger pot once he falters and he will thrive.

  9. I agree with Dragonfly, it looks like a member of the juniper family. It probably is upset over being moved. You don’t want to put it in direct light, but you still want it in a “bright” room where it gets indirect sunlight most of the day.

    I love houseplants, but the fragile ones drive me crazy. I’m nursing my mother’s plants back to health, but she drowns them and then forgets to water them altogether. I’ve set up a plant hospital in my parents’ front porch because it faces the south and is so warm and sunny during the day. Yet you can take them out of the direct sun if you want and set them in a place that’s just warm. They seem to like that. It is California, after all. 😀

  10. I have found that the plants I care for most sadly die the quickest in my home. Loving neglect is the answer to a thriving plant.

  11. Lovely post. I do understand the yearning for a tree when you live in the confines of an apartment. But, alas, your little tree could be languishing due to the confines of the pot. It may need to be rooted in the ground.

  12. Maybe he would enjoy being planted outside and nobody looking at him for a while!

  13. Thank you for all your input! Bottomline, it seems that I should scoot him a bit farther from the window or maybe find him a shaded area outside to call home. I wonder – do I need to ask my landlord’s permission? There is no type of garden here, nothing to infringe upon, but should I make sure before proceeding? I wouldn’t want to post bail for my little tree! Or maybe have him sent off to Botanical Bay!

  14. Maybe the landlord will enjoy your initiative.
    I once planted a little garden for all in the communal era.
    If not, the tree has to find out how to expend his little roots in a limited space but under for sure loving conditions.

  15. is it a Cypress? if so, I have 2 8′ tall ones you can have. also, they seem to prefer growing wide then tall. and yours definitely looks wider in the 2nd pic.

  16. They really do reach incessantly towards that sunlight, don’t they? Yours has a nice spark to it. My used holiday trees always look like they’re cursing the day I was born.

  17. and how’s the tree doing? better, I hope. Perhaps your entry about it will give it some renewed vigor. I loved that you called it an “emerald hatchling.” You never know what will resonate with a reader, right? This was such a wonderful little entry, though, with the tree being perhaps like a “spoiled child” or finding renewal in the “myth and darkness of the woods.”
    How it all comes together so that even without the picture, we’re good – we see it all.

    And hope you’re doing well, too and that surfer BF is watching the waves with a stern eye.

    • I’ve taken the advice here and decided that my little tree needs to be relocated outside. Boyfriend came up with the excellent idea of relocating it in my parents’ yard.

      We went to the beach yesterday, by the way – Boyfriend found the waves excellent but innocent, and scoffed at the rip currents.

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