This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The elephant plant inspires me

I know it seems like a silly thing to be excited about, but I was thrilled when I discovered the plant I cannot kill.

Called the elephant plant, it's a succulent that can survive long periods of drought, and it doesn't seem to require any special diet and bugs don't seem to eat it, either. Given my reckless spirit when it comes to anything green and living in my backyard, desert or otherwise, any plant that intends to go on living back there, needs to have a hardy soul like that.

The elephant plant definitely does.

I've tried other plants. I initially thought I'd have a colorful and flowering patio, but a lack of automatic watering system kept getting in my way. It was an obstacle I knew I could overcome without spending too much money. In other words, I didn't want to add an automatic watering system.

So I kept buying different kinds of plants. I'd search through books and copies of Sunset magazine to find out which plants should be able to withstand my neglect. I'd walk through the aisles of plants at Home Depot. I'd even ask the sales clerks at nurseries, "What should I buy that will survive the worst drought?"

I had ice plants with purple blooms in hanging baskets, but they didn't last. I had cactus plants, but they shriveled up on me. I even tried aloe vera. My mother used to grow that all the time. It always seemed to multiply at her house. At mine, it just wilted. Of course, hers were in the ground. I wanted mine in pots.

Then, I noticed that one of the plants I'd purchased still seemed to have some life in it. I'd forgotten about it for the longest time. I hadn't watered it. I didn't even remember what it was and had left it for dead.

But it wasn't.

With just a speck of green on its branches, I suspected I'd found the plant for me. So I watered it and left town. When I returned to see that it had survived half an Arizona summer without any further waterings, I knew I really did have my perfect plant. That was in 2007, the year I was on vacation from mid-June until some time in August. I was so impressed this guy could withstand the hottest time of the year. Another plant given to me by a friend, a floral something-or-other that I left indoors that same summer, did not; it suffered what I suspect was a quick death.

But the elephant plant? He held on.

Once I watered it again, his leaves perked up, color returned to what should have been a lifeless form, and new buds appeared.

And that is precisely why I went out immediately and purchased several more--along with new pots and potting soil. Now, my entire patio is decorated with the plant that will not die. I love it! I can be as forgetful and negligent as I truly am around plants, and this guy doesn't seem to mind.

I am inspired by its hardiness, its inability to give up and its willingness to put up with me. This is the plant God made specifically for traveling journalists like me, and I am forever thankful for discovering it. It's made my patio a place I can actually enjoy now. And I really like the look of uniformity. If I want color, I buy a colored pot. If I want more texture, I buy garden art. And if I want some kind of fragrance, I wear purfume. Obstacle no more. My patio is now an opportunity to see beyond the sameness.

If you have a plant that seems to suit you and your lifestyle well, what is it? What's your story behind the plant that inspires you?


Julie said...

My inspiration would be a dandelion because it's a weed. Therefore, if I don't do something productive with my butt in the office chair, I have to go out there and tackle lawn care to get rid of it.

BIKE LADY said...


Alexandra Grabbe said...

I did not know about this plant. Is it related to the jade plant? I would love an indoor plant that I could not kill.

BIKE LADY said...


I believe that it is related to the jade plant. Every time I do a search, that comes up. But I haven't looked read that much about it.

But I bet the elephant plant would do great indoors. I have my plants positioned in different locations on my patio, some on the ground, some on tiny tables, some in tall standing urns, some under shade, some not, some in between--and they all look slightly different. The one under full shade is so green--a really bright green. It's been a fun experiment to decorate the patio entirely with one plant. But it works for me. I truly am inspired that this plant withstands an unlikely gardener like me. I generally admire plants from afar.

Kathy said...

Love this! I'll have to try to elephant plant, because I've yet to find one I can't kill.