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3 "The Almost Forty Year Old Ivy Plant" by Sherrill Pool Elizondo

When I was a young mother with just one child, we moved from Austin to Houston. We lived in apartments and had only one car for a short while which limited some activities. Luckily I met many mothers with young children who I could visit with and our children played together often. One day there was a grand opening of a grocery store in walking distance so my neighbor and I put our children in strollers and went to check out the new store. They were giving free ivy plants to customers and I was thrilled because I had just one or two houseplants when my husband and I lived in the apartment in Austin. I guess that ivy plant signaled the beginning of my love for having houseplants and later gardening outdoors. I have not been as successful with any plant like I have been with that ivy though. Either I am just lucky or it is just really difficult to kill ivy!

I eventually planted the ivy in a pot and hung it from the ceiling with one of those macrame plant hangers so popular in the sixties and seventies. The plant moved with us to our first home with that one son and one on the way and then four years later to our second home (with 3 sons) 33 years ago. Who knows in the future where that plant may finally live and whether or not it will ever be in a home in Rockport or elsewhere. The ivy remained in the same hanging basket for many years. When our oldest son left for college I rooted some of the ivy in water and then planted it in a pot for him. I am not sure of what became of that little plant. I guess that it died. However, after he moved to Los Angeles to get his masters degree at USC, we drove one year to visit him and to take some of his belongings to him. I took a hanging basket with an ivy plant from cuttings from the old one again as a little gift. I recall being concerned that I had this plant on the floor of the car when we had to stop at a fruit and plant inspection point when entering California but it did not prove to be a problem. When our other two sons left home to attend UT, I sent with each one of them a potted ivy taken from what I now call the Mother Plant. At some point in time, I made such a mess of the cuttings that I finally rerooted the whole plant into a smaller pot and bought a different type of ivy for the old hanging basket. The old Mother Plant Ivy now sits in a dining room window and it is thriving. I looked online to see what was said about very old houseplants and it appears that there are plants that have lasted for generations in families.

Recently my youngest son and his family moved back to Houston after living in Seattle for a year. He emailed me from where he works now and asked if I could give him an ivy plant in a pot for his office. (I knew he meant from the original one) He said he does not recall what happened to the other one but I am sure it probably died eventually as many plants do. It amazes me that the mother plant is still around and that I can do this for him as a special gift. I know that my original ivy plant that I received so many many years ago will probably outlive me and, hopefully, will be around for generations to come. Now, if that darn Cocker Spaniel we had early on in our marriage had not decided to chew up a beautiful rubber plant...
by Sherrill Pool Elizondo



What a story! I wonder what the life span usually is for philodendrons? That one certainly has performed well and given you many special memories.


Thank you...not sure about philodendrons. I came across something on the internet about a man in England who has had a garden in a bottle since 1960 and it is thriving! SE


Here is the link to the interesting article about the man who did the garden in the bottle 53 years ago. There are also instructions on how to create one. Sherrill


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