this plant

A Jade Treasure

A DP Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure

Jade Plant – Crassula ovata – Why I Treasure This Plant

I found this plant on the side of the road in Big Sur. There was a little sign that said ‘Free’ next to a pile of what looked like trash, and what looked like a potted jade plant actually turned out to be some broken jade branches in a broken pot. No soil, no roots. We decided to take the branches home to plant them properly. That was in the summer of 2006, and it was the first time my wife had ever been to Big Sur. Big Sur is truly a magical spot and one of my favorite places in the world. I wanted to show and share it with my future wife. We had been dating almost 2 years at that point and had just moved in together for the first time. This became one of the first plants we had at our new place. Over the past eight years it has grown thick and woody, and produced oodles of baby jade plants from the branches and leaves that have broken off. The memories of where it came from will forever be attached to where it is now, somehow creating a bridge between the past and the present.

These are the connections that help define us. These are the things that become treasures. Though not valuable in monetary terms, they become treasures for reasons that can’t be easily measured. And these are the most valuable treasures of all.

See more photos of Big Sur HERE

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This Plant #7 – My Big Old Valley Oak

(republished from flora-file)

Valley Oak – Quercus lobata

One of the very first things anyone notices in our backyard is the oak tree, which is far larger than our little house. It is a deciduous oak, so it lets in lots of light in the winter, and shades out the heat in the summer. During the summer its lobed leaves let in dappled light that is perfect for many California native plants. Of course, it drops about 30 cubic yards of leaves every fall, and every two or three years a gazillion acorns, which is all fine and good until I’m trying to wheel a 500 lb green waste can filled with 10,000 acorns to the curbside.

Our house was built in 1950, which is when most of the smaller trees in this top photo were planted. The oak tree on the other hand takes up a large portion of our backyard and part of our neighbor’s, and it must be at least 200 years old. These older Oak trees only grow where there is a nearby source of water, and we do live along an aquifer that carries water to the SF Bay Delta from nearby Mt Diablo. Our proximity to the aquifer actually means our house is in a flood zone. I’m not sure what  intricacy of fate saved this tree from being cut down at some point in the past as folks started paving over most parts of this neighborhood, but now it stands as a stoic survivor from a previous, unpaved era. When I think how the world has changed in the time this Oak Tree has been growing here, it puts things into a whole different perspective.

We had to get this tree trimmed recently, and had numerous arborists come by and give us quotes. Every one of them told us how healthy our tree was, what an awesome, amazing, huge, old tree we had. It’s interesting that everyone referred to it as our tree or our valley oak. The fact that anyone can try to claim provenance over such ancient organism seems more and more ludicrous to me the more I think about it. Really this is the oak tree’s property.  We are just passing through.

More photos of the Oak


The story of my life told through the story of my plants. Read more This Plant stories ======> HERE.