Monday, March 29, 2004

Fernando talks about himself 

Fernando is a Ficus benjamina. The Benjamin Tree is from the tropical regions of India to n. Australia. It is used as a shade and ornamental tree for homes and conservatory. The leaves and the fruit possess the ornamental value. The leaves are leathery and about five inches long and two inches wide. The Weeping Ficus fruits are pairs of red figs. Fernando likes light, but not direct sun. Keep his soil moist but let it dry out between waterings.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Looking for Lucy - Chapter 2 

Duncan looked through the window and started panting.

“Now, Duncan,” Dad chuckled, “panting will not scare away the burglars. You have to bark better than that.”

Duncan perked up his ears and kept on looking out the window. Dad has no idea what a beautiful little dog I’m looking at, he thought.

There was Lucy romping in the front yard with one of her boys. He was playing with a basketball and she was chasing it. “She jumps so high,” admired Duncan. “I’d love to go out and play with her.”

Dad went to the window and looked out. “Oh, now I see. There’s Lucy and her boy. I wish I could give you a boy to play with too, Duncan, but you’ll just have to settle for your brothers.”

Duncan rolled his eyes and kept looking out the window. Fat chance, he thought. They just sit around and drool for boneys. Then they go and ask Mom for a pat on the head or to go out. Big deal.

Just then, Mom said, “Come on boys. Let’s go out,” and Duncan raced out the door.

He stood at the fence and begged Lucy to come over. “Come on, Lucy, let’s be friends.”

“She won’t come to the fence and say hello. She’s too busy playing with her boy,” said Vali as he walked up beside Duncan.

“Yeah,” barked Beau. “Besides, she’s kind of snooty. I tried talking to her before and she just turned up her nose and ran into the house. I don’t think she wants to get to know us.”

“You guys don’t know what you’re talking about,” snarled Duncan. “She’ll come over pretty soon if you both just go away. There’s no way she’s going to come talk to me with the two of you standing around. Why don’t you go and run around on the other side of the yard?”

“Oh come on, Val. Let’s leave poor Dunc to his dreams,” laughed Beau and they started walking away to go sit in the shade.

Duncan sat down and watched Lucy. Every time she got close to the fence he would ask her to come and get acquainted, but she just ignored him. Pretty soon, the boy went into the house and Lucy followed. Duncan was so disappointed. I don’t understand why she won’t get to know me, but I’m not going to give up. One of these days she’ll just have to invite me over to play.

And so with one more look over his shoulder, Duncan turned and ran to the door to go back inside.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Roger Rubbertree 

Fernando got to know Roger pretty well when they were spending time in the office building and really liked him. What he didn't know is that Roger is part of the Ficus family. Ficus elastica originated from Malaya in the early 1800's. It is commonly known as the rugger plant because the stems and foliage contain a rubber-like latex. The rubber plant grows upright stems with leathery leaves that are dark and shiny green in color, oval in shape with pointed tips. Young leaves appear wrapped in a bright red bract. It is usually grown indoors, but will grow outside in tropical climates. Ficus elastica likes light, but not direct sunlight and appreciates feeding in the summer. Keep the plant fairly dry in winter, but water more plentifully in summer. Don't overwater since it can cause yellowing.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Fernando Sez 

While Fernando continues to put together some plant articles, he thought it would be fun to write another story. So from time to time he will add chapters to

Looking for Lucy, A Doggie Love Story by Duncan

Duncan stretched and buried deeper in the bedcovers. I’m not ready to wake up yet, he thought, and quickly drifted back into his favorite dream. There she was – the most beautiful dog in the world. Lucy, a 10 pound Jack Russell terrier with the prettiest little legs he ever saw, was barking at him. “Hi, Duncan. My Mom just gave me a nice boney treat. Would you like to share it with me? Come on over.” Just then, Duncan’s person shifted in the bed and started to get up. “Hey,” barked Duncan, “you can’t get up without me!” Duncan jumped off the bed and jostled his brothers awake.

“Come on Vali, come on Beau. Dad’s up and it’s time to go out.”

Vali, a red german shepherd, immediately stood up and went to the bedroom door to wait.

Beau, a grey and white keeshound, bounced up and down. “Oh boy, we’re going to go out, we’re going to go out, “he barked.

Duncan, a black terrier, charged toward his Dad and barked, “Hurry up and get your fur on. We’re ready to go!”

“Ok, you guys. I’m moving as fast as I can, “laughed Dad. “Just give me a minute.”

“What’s a minute?” Duncan asked his brothers.

“I don’t know. It must be part of his fur because he always says it as he’s getting out of bed,” yawned Vali.

Beau was still bouncing. “I don’t know either but I’ve got to go out NOW.”

Dad opened the bedroom door and the boys rushed down the stairs. Soon they were back in the house and ready for breakfast, all except Duncan. He was still outside looking for Lucy.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Sasha Spiderplant 

Sasha is another friend of Fernando and wants you to know all about spider plants. These plants like partial shade and uniformly moist soil to grow well. Chlorophytum comosum "Vittatum" is a white-banded leaf variety with long flowering stems that develop new plantlets. Chlorophytum elatum "Vittantum" produces clusters of green foliage with lighter midribs and forms babies as well. Fertilize spider plants every two months with any general food.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Annie Asparagus fern 

Another friend of Fernando's is Annie asparagus fern. Annie is a member of the Liliaceae family and originated in southern Africa. Asparagus ferns, or Asparagus densiflorus "Sprengeri", produce long trailing branches 2-6 feet in length and are armed with small hooked thorns. The leaves are actually small, flat phylloclades (stems) and are generally in threes 1-1 1/2 inches long. It also produces tiny flowers, either white or pink, and bright red berries.

Asparagus fern is usually considered an indoor plant in the northern climates, but grows freely outside in the south. Give it plenty of light, but not direct sun, and water regularly.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Fernando Sez 

Now that Fernando has found his forever home, he will begin an occasional chat column about plants he likes as well as interesting short stories. Enjoy!

Today's topic is philodendrons in honor of his friend, Philomena. Philodendrons originated in the tropical regions of America and prefer a well-lit environment but not direct exposure to the sun. Philodendron scandens is a climbing species up to 6 feet, with slender stems, long interroots and many spontaneous roots. Its leaves are evergreen and heart-shaped, tapering to a sharp point. Keep the soil evenly moist but allow it to dry out during waterings. Mist the leaves occasionally since this plant likes humidity and it helps keep the leaves clean. Climbing philodendrons can be planted in pots with trailing stems or trained to grow up walls and trellises. Typically, this plant is grown indoors but loves it outdoors in southern climates if protected. Feed with a good liquid fertilizer and remember to pat its stems!
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