Reviving Mistreatee Grape Ivy

January 5, 2022

Reflections, Day 84

Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.”
― Hal Borland

“If you can do it, it ain’t braggin’”

—Dizzy Dean

The plant cascading from the balconies which look down into the atrium lobby is one that I’ve known for many years. It is a great choice for indoors, and it is relatively easy to grow. I could tell that the person who first envisioned this planting understood.

Last spring, I was recommended to hotel management as someone who could determine what was wrong with the plants and make them look good again. They had been beautiful for years but this year they just didn’t look good. I went to the second floor and looked at plants. They were in bad shape.

“When did the original caretaker become unavailable?”

“About a year ago,” I was told.

“Who was in charge after that?”

“The first guy quit and then the second guy was good and he quit. I would say there were three or four changes, but we kept them watered.”

I reached way over the glass railing and grabbed a handful of potting soil and found that it was potting mud.

“We can bring these back,” I said, “but is going to take a while.

The plantings are installed in window boxes with no drainage. First, we dried them out. I added a good dose of lime and then stirred in a little time release fertilizer. Then we waited.  My friends Paul and Jason alternated weeks, checking by hand the soil in each planter (maybe 50 or more).

“Each week feel the soil in each planter, and water the ones that need it.”

I could watch the plants grow, but I do understand that the progress is slow to a lot of people.

About 3 or 4 weeks ago Paul said, “They’re looking good, boss.” I didn’t get to see them through the busyness of the holidays,

But yesterday I finally had time to look at the grape ivy planting and I was happy. They have not yet reached their potential, but they’re on that path.

—john schulz

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