The Coast News Group
Small Talk

Finding the right fit proved an epic quest

As my faithful, front yard ficus tree looked more and more strangled, I began a search for a larger pot and new home for it.The tree has been with me for 21 years, constrained to one pot and then another, currently pushing for freedom from the garden store’s largest offering, a 30-inch-wide-by-25-inch-tall fake terra cotta. I didn’t realize this was about as big as pots get until I went searching for the next size up. There almost aren’t any and when I finally found a few, they had slipped from the $40 range to the $300 range. Ouch.

I diligently scrutinized every pot-selling place within a 15-mile radius and even checked online. It was slim and expensive pickings. But finally I found the pot — a whopping 30-inch-by-40-inch beauty. Then I discovered a coupon right in this very paper! I was jubilant. Now it only cost $260. Still kind of ouch. I have never invested anything close to that amount on my yard … at least not all at once for one item. I suppose if you add up the number of $10 plants I have planted and killed over the years, it might produce a staggering sum. I prefer not to dwell.

I purchased the enormous, concrete, beautifully fired pot with a turquoise-ish finish creature. The next, and I thought, last challenge was to get it home. I begged, pleaded and guilted an adorable 20-something with a truck into helping out. He is actually my son’s best friend, but I treat him like my own. Rather like common-law marriage, once my children’s friends agree to lift, haul, drag or rearrange furniture for me, they are officially on my chore list and may never escape without leaving the state, as my rotten, ungrateful son did.

He graciously picked up the pot and then, risking the bones in both legs and a double hernia, got it placed on my lawn. I may need to add him to my health insurance next time. So now, just pluck the tree out of the old pot and put it in the new, right? Yes, except for buying enough dirt to fill the cavernous thing, then rendezvous with gardeners to bang out the drain hole in the bottom, laboriously cut the excess roots off, bash open the old pot and, finally, finally heft the tree into its new home. Whew.

It looks wonderful and, I can only imagine the tree is thrilled to have some plant food and room to stretch its toes. I don’t have the heart to tell it this is its last and largest home. Perhaps I’ll share that in another 20 years.