Jasper the Dracaena Marginata has been with us for about ten years. At over five feet, Jasper has presence. He is dignified at the same time his goofy green poofs remind me of the trees from Doctor Seuss’ The Lorax. I just found through googling that this type of plant is also called a Dragon Tree, which makes perfect sense. He is our dragon.
With his three heads, Jasper is a combination of what were previously two little identical Dracaenas. One I gave to D for Valentine’s Day shortly after we started dating, and the other my sister left with me when she moved across the country.
Jasper is now a massive being who has adapted himself perfectly to his current location in the bay window. WIth his three heads, he looks simultaneously through each of the three panes. At the same time, he guards our bed nearby, watching over it with his shaggy green mane.
Before the twins were born I had built up quite a collection of plants. They took up the large living room windowsill, and overflowed onto the tables and bookshelves. One much-beloved specimen had deep purple leaves on thin white stems; it looked like a flock of butterflies had just taken off from the pot. Every evening at dusk the butterflies shut their wings for the night.
After the twins were born I didn’t have time or energy for the plants. It was all I could do to remember to water them sometimes, let alone fertilize or repot. One by one they died. But Jasper, the oldest and largest, persevered.
I remember one winter, wheeling him in a granny cart from one apartment to another on the coldest day of the year. I put a garbage bag over him, which whipped off in a frigid vortex right in the middle of an intersection. After that all his leaves turned black and fell off. Another, weaker plant I had transported at the same time never recovered, but Jasper regenerated. After that, on the bark of each of his spindly stalks was a rough scar, like a knobby knee, allowing me to chart his amazing growth.
Another time I transported Jasper on the subway. He was giant and unwieldy. D was embarrassed to be seen with me as I whapped people in the head with him each time I turned around.
Shortly after the babies were born someone pointed out that some house plants are poisonous. Sure enough, Jasper doesn’t take being eaten lying down. Though not lethal, he won’t go down without some vomiting and pain. He is a Dragon Tree, after all.
Today I realized that even if we could find a place for Jasper away from the babies in our new house, he wouldn’t survive an eight plus hour drive in the unheated back of a moving truck mid-February.
So we will have to say goodbye to Jasper. I’ll miss you. May you find some new sunny windows and an owner who tends to you better than I can. Goodbye, old friend.
*The title of this post is inspired by a great post at Olivia FitzGerald’s blog, “Hello babies…Bye-Bye Friends?”