Spoons, Spikes, and Speculation
I can’t believe I’m writing about my Desert Spoon Plant yet again. I didn’t think it was all that interesting the first time, but events have transpired…
I just got home from a week-long trip to my neighboring state. I’d taken a walk ’round my neighborhood before I left, as I do almost every day, and all appeared to be well. I didn’t tell you in my earlier post (about the Desert Spoon in front of my kitchen window) that I also have an even bigger one right in the middle of my front garden. This one doesn’t bother me the way the kitchen window one does, though, as there is lots of room for it to stick out its prickly leaves. Or fronds. Or whatever it is this beastie has.
Desert Spoons look like this most of the year, but every two or three years, in early summer, they’ll shoot a spike right up their middles. This is a fast-growing spike, and contains all the fun and heartbreak of their particular form of fertility. I’ve observed my very large Spoon do this twice in the several years I’ve lived here, (once with two spikes on the one plant—I was a neighborhood phenomenon!), but the kitchen window Spoon, I thought, was too young for this sort of behavior.
Alas, she’s all grown up. Literally. I’d said in my other post that she took up Too Much Room for the small area in front of the window. I was just away from home for one week, and when I arrived home I was frightened at first, as I thought an extremely thin and tall man was standing in front of my house. In Only One Week, both my Desert Spoons sent up spikes that are currently about six feet tall. They’re already too tall for me to look ’em in the eye, and they’re bound to get about 3-5 feet taller still. So now, when I look out my kitchen window, hoping to glance at the mountains, or the palms, or the citrus trees, I see this ginormous spike sticking straight up. It looks a bit like a very healthy, extremely large asparagus spear. This is because it hasn’t flowered yet. When it does, I’ll know its gender, as each individual plant is one or the other, and has different flowers. I’ve already called Kitchen Window Spoon a “she” as I know the other one is a male. I’m hoping to have one of each!
I re-read my previous Spoon post, and I said there that I was going to have the plant removed before 2008 is over. I still intend to do that, but I just can’t right now, can I? It’s having a spike, and is going to make flowers, and it just wouldn’t be right to cut it down in its prime. Darn.
The weird thing about this (as if having a spike on each plant in the same year wasn’t strange enough) is that, during my walk around the neighborhood today I saw that Nearly Every Spoon I saw on my half-hour walk had a spike! What’s going on? In my admittedly limited experience of the Sonoran Desert, I have never seen such a thing before. Is this a particularly fertile year? Does it have something to do with global warming? Have aliens visited and sprinkled Spoon fertilizer among us? We’ve been having rather strange weather, too. I’m a little bit disturbed, but I shall post bravely on. Tomorrow: my thoughts about Santa Fe; and then—Conference Notes 101!