Friday, July 21, 2006
euphorbia ingens 1986-2006

The rather small plant way over on the right and almost against the side wall of the house is a Euphorbia Ingens. A beautiful wonderful plant that grows fairly quickly because it is not a Cactus but more of a Succulant. This photograph was taken early on in the beginnings of my Cactus Garden. So this photograph was probably taken in 1986-87. Here it is, about 4 or 5 years later...and you can tell how small some of these other plants were then...that sort of white fuzzy in the foreground is the plant that has all the Penis Flowers each is taller than me now. And the spiky one at the left, the Yucca Rostratta is also taller than I am now, too. Here in the picture above the Euphorbia Ingens is really growing bigger and better....this is probably 7 or 8 years growth....then in the picture just below the of E. was probably taken about seven or eight years is healthy looking and getting bigger and bigger...the arms are growing straight up as you can is around 1998 in this picture.... This next picture I took in February of this year...and it is as big as it ever was....though the tops are not standing up as straight as they should...some of the little newer arms are kind of drooping, as you can see here... In this close-up picture of the top arms, below....

you can really see, the little newer arms drooping somewhat. And the interesting thing is, it flowered profusely this year! They say that sometimes this happens when a plant is is a closer look in the picture below at the flowers already on the way to seed....I can't get over the incredible abundance of flowers this year...but...but...but.... About 2 months before my birthday, I noticed that there was some "brown" creeping up from the bottom of this plant that did not look good, at must have already been doing that, but none of us had noticed it because the bottom of that plant is already very woody and was only when I looked more closely and carefully one day that I saw this strange thing appeared to have crept further up one of the arms and I finally realized there was a big big problem....I talked it over with my gardener and he tested those lower arms and it was indeed, very sickly. We knew it would have to be cut down, but I couldn't face another loss of another big plant....I said, lets wait till after my birthday.

Having made this decision, I took some pictures of the creeping "brown" just to have a record of it....this was taken on July 7th.... This is how bad that creeping "brown" had become by the 7th of July. I knew the time had come to do something about this poor dying plant...So, on Wednesday, July 19th they came with the electric saw, and began to take down this once beautiful plant that was a little more than twenty years old. The one man cut off the arms, a little at a time so as not to let anything fall and possibly destroy some other plants...(I had told the Foreman guy that it was very very important to me that nothing would be broken or damaged, and if anything was, I would not pay them...) Another man, Carlos, was up on the roof, taking each piece and carrying it to the edge and throwing it down on a tarp they had put down for just this purpose...And here is Carlos, throwing a piece to the ground... Then, down below, there were a couple of men waiting to take each piece and put them in the truck, where another man took a machete and cut up these pieces so they would fit in the truck better, and then be carted away. And then the pieces went to the truck... And in this next picture below, you can see the Euphorbia Ingens is a lot more spindly because there are fewer and fewer sad to say.... And here below, you can see that it is now, shorter, yet again... And here, as this man Sikell used the chain saw to cut these pieces off, you can see little bits of the plant flying in the air...Oy! And then Sikell would hand this other man on the ground another piece as this plant got smaller and was painful to see this even though I know it had to be done.... And here in the truck is that really bad sickly looking arm with the creeping "brown" on it's arm.... And it is clear why we didn't see the problem sooner, becauuse if you look at that arm over on the left side of the picture you can see the woody part of it before the creeping "brown" started....

And then in this picture below, this once beautiful plant is almost, mo more.... And in this next shot, all that's left is the rest of the root which he has leveled off so it is not even a stump.... Then, this morning..Thursday, July 20th, another man came and used a kind of pick ax to get the root out.... Once that was done, all that was left was the sawdust from all that the chain saw did the day before...and a few of the cuttings from the Amak which we had to cut down in January which are in pots rooting now... It is surreal to me to see this space empty. As if nothing was ever there. No real evidence that a little plant that became a beautiful big tree in twenty years was ever there at all. No arms to save...(too much sickness in the system of the plant) cuttings that will grow and become a new and beautiful plant/tree from that mother plant. Now, it's just an empty space...lonely looking and sad....
Rest In Peace dear Euphorbia lived a good life and you were a beautiful amazing plant. You will be greatly missed.

This post will stay up for a few days....I have a lot of DVD's to watch for The Television Academy At-Home-Judging...and there is a deadline if I don't come round to visit you, please forgive me...

More to come....

Links to this post:


had this to say:

What a shame about that. Sorry.

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 10:19:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Ohhhh, I'm sorry you had to cut down your Euphorbia :o(

I hope you enjoy the DVD's that you will be judging!!

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 11:20:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Aw. the other day Mr. Chatty and his dad cut back the branches of the tree next to our deck. It was causing mildew to form on the deck. Mr. Chatty did it when I went shopping with his mom because he knew I loved the branches. I kept my bird feeder on it. My Spencer and Fenway used to watch the chippies from that feeder. I near fainted when I saw it. I know what you are feeling...

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 11:45:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I feel like I was on a roller coaster reading the blog...I was so amazed by its beauty and then to read that you had to cut it down. My heart just broke for you.

I hope the new ones will sprout and flourish for many years to come.

Michele sent me.

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 2:02:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow! We had a plant similar to this, it was a Euphorbia Trigona, we always just called it a Cathedral Cactus. Ours also grew quite a bit, not as large as yours, but then got a creeping brown and died. I've looked around for another plant like that, but haven't found them in my area. Yours was truly gorgeous. Thanks for sharing all the photos.

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 2:02:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I'd love it if I could see things like that every day! I'm slowly descending that I need to move west! :)

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 2:14:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Sorry about the euphorbia, but I suspect you will plat something else in that spot and it will grow and proliferate and be there long after you move to speak.

If you see any good DVD's - let us know.

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 2:36:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

That's quite a pity to cut down a plant who practically stayed with you for a very long time. I had that same feeling when my grandpa cut a tree that was a part of my childhood

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 2:46:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Thanks for sharing thouse pics - very different from a Norwegian garden!

Michell sent me and I'm glad i came by.

Have a great end to your week:-)

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 2:47:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

So sorry about your plant! I hope the dvds distract you just a little.

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 2:50:00 PM PDT 

had this to say: sorry about the euphorbia. It had so much history! Ah, well, the circle of life...

Enjoy the DVDS! Happy weekend from Michele's!

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 3:04:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh my gosh. My eyes welled up reading this. Seriously. I have such a fondness for nature and all of it's beauty, and to have loved and nutured ANYTHING for that long, and document it's growth and habit ... and then lose it ... goodness. It's just so sad. I'm sorry. BUT - perhaps now you can find another 'something special' to fill that void that may need your obvious expertise and love of growing. And you can begin again.

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 3:18:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Yea that's a sad thing even cutting down a favorite tree,
can be heart wrenching.

I see you live in cali too
will we ever see rain again?

I'm a cancer 6-23 too we're very
sensitive which is a good thing.
Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 3:45:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Our tradition holds that everything in creation has a nefesh--a spark of the spirit of GD. Those who nurture plants and animals certainly understand this. And, though I'm not a plant or animal person I also know this is true. Your beloved euphorbia had a wonderful life and will live again, I have no doubt. As Kenju said, you will go on to raise and love other plants with which you'll share your beautiful spirit.
What an exquisite eulogy, dear Naomi.

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 5:52:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow, how sad. But truly an amazing tree. Beautiful. I'm so sorry.

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 6:30:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

OMHeavens! I'm so sorry to hear about this plant..I so hate to loose a plant that I've had for even a short time, I can't imagine loosing one that I've nurtured for years as you have this one.

I did just catch up on your blog about the night blooming flowers. OH HOW INCREDIBLE!!! I was absolutely amazed! Thank you so very much for sharing it with us. Those flowers were spectacular! Stacie

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 6:36:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

:( oh no that is so sad I am sorry.
Oh a side note, check your email I sent you my Emmy schedule.
AND VOTE FOR LOST Aunty Em !! ( or at least Ian in his guest actor role as Desmond, ok good ok then LOL )

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 7:15:00 PM PDT 

Blogger srp
had this to say:

So sorry about your plant, did they ever say exactly what it was?

Made the trip here to NY just fine. Brooklyn is a photographer's haven, the architecture and the colors, the old graveyards and the graffiti. The apartment is two blocks from Prospect Park and the grounds of the botanical gardens. Wild parrots and candy shops under the Brooklyn Bridge. Tonight trying to get used to Nyssa's old laptop and just checking in.

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 8:00:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I am so sorry.
That is so sad....

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 9:16:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a story! A real saga. I read it with bated breath and could understand your sadness at the loss.

Saturday, July 22, 2006 at 3:41:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

It's funny to think how sad losing a plant or tree can make us, but it does. I remember as a kid my brother and I used to spend hours climbing a huge old tree in the corner of our garden. We even called it "big tree". When I was about 17 or so, it had to be cut down as the root system was interfering with drainage. It was absolutely heart wrenching to hear the branches being sawed down and thud to the ground. But what was even worse was the empty space left behind once the tree had been carted away. So I understand exactly where you are coming from. Our plants are such precious things and mean such a lot to us.

Saturday, July 22, 2006 at 7:49:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh! It's very sad that you had to cut down your Euphorbia. This plant looks very beautiful and strong.
And what a beautiful plant this Yucca Rostratta!
I wish you enjoy the DVD's that you will be judging!
Have a good weekend!

Saturday, July 22, 2006 at 9:34:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Too bad that it got sick and had to go. That picture of the trunk before he took it out looks like a regular tree trunk! So amazing these plants are. Looks like the ones in the pots are doing well!

Thanks Naomi. Sorry about the plant though. Like losing an old friend, kind of.

Saturday, July 22, 2006 at 10:39:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh I'm so sorry it got sick! It was so lovely.

Saturday, July 22, 2006 at 2:27:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

It is so sad to see that lovely plant die like that. It was very beautiful.

Do you have any plans to replace it?

Michele sent me by this time!

Saturday, July 22, 2006 at 7:27:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

OMG...that thing is huge! I am so sorry it had to be cut...I wasn't expecting that.

Saturday, July 22, 2006 at 7:37:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

That was an awful lot of work those guys did.
How sad that that huge plant had to be cut down.

Have a good weekend watching all those DVDs.

Saturday, July 22, 2006 at 8:43:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Well, it's gone, but its life story is planted on the worldwide web. And a gorgeous plant it was.~Rick

Saturday, July 22, 2006 at 8:48:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

In its last flowering perhaps it spread to your loving soil some new little one. hugs.

Michele sent me:)

Sunday, July 23, 2006 at 1:56:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I am so sorry about your plant, it certainly was a feature in your beautiful garden. I had a cactus that also died from creeping brown and it also flowered profusely before dying - a kind of swan song for plants.

Sunday, July 23, 2006 at 2:49:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

such a neat plant/tree. I'm sorry you had to cut it down and it's a shame that they die right after blooming, kind of like they have a flameout. Here from Michele's today.

Sunday, July 23, 2006 at 2:55:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, the artist is Mary Emgelbreit. She has a magazine, but I can't remember the name of it. This drawing came from the magazine when I had a subscription. Her artwork is whimsical, and her captions are always good ones, such as "bloom where you are planted" and "Get over it!" I may have the drawings for those too, if I can find them.

Sunday, July 23, 2006 at 5:36:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Poor cactus.
We had to get rid of 40 year old Italian Cypress.
Plant something that blooms and brings color! :)


Sunday, July 23, 2006 at 1:36:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

i love your posts. they always make me chuckle. sorry about the plant, but the part where little bits of plant were flying, "OY" -- that gave me a big belly laugh.

Sunday, July 23, 2006 at 5:52:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

We once had a plant that we had bought for a friend named Michael. Our intention was to bring it to him in the hospital. He had just had a live transplant.

We arrived at the hospital, only to be greeted by his father, who told us, through tears, that Michael was having a bad day. He thanked us profusely for coming, and asked if we could come back another day.

We held onto the plant. Michael died a week later after rejecting the organ. We had just turned 30.

We kept the plant for almost 14 years. Then it began to inexplicably shrivel. Soon, it was beynd saving.

I mourned its loss because The Michael Plant was the last piece of a dear friend who died too young, and whose spirit continued to influence me.

I read this entry, Naomi, and I instantly thought of Michael and his plant. I'm so sorry that your plant had to be cut down. Yet I am buoyed that you found the time and the energy to capture its beauty and share the story of its life and its end with us.

It continues to exist in our memories. More imoportantly, you've taught us to appreciate the beauty of its existence...that ultimately matters more.

Sunday, July 23, 2006 at 8:07:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Are you reviewing horror movies? this post was so "horror like" !. Your poor cactus

Monday, July 24, 2006 at 4:54:00 AM PDT 

Anonymous mizevanz
had this to say:

Perhaps if medicare paid for the drug, they'd find a cure for "creeping brown". I had a front courtyard filled with cacti and succulents at my house in the valley, and lost a few biggies to this disease. I know how you feel.

By the way, the rather phallic cactus covered with tiny spines has a curious nickname in England. One of my British friends came over, and began to giggle when she saw it. She said it's a popular houseplant known as "cat's cock." or "cat's cox", because of its resemblence to the anatomical construction of the male sex organ of the feline species. As a cat-mommie, you probably know the physiological reason why cats let out a screeching yowl at the conclusion of intercourse.

Since this is a family blogsite, you may wish to delete the above, but I thought you'd find it amusing.

Also, I have some info on power failures etc. which is too long for your blog. My e-mail address is If you have an email address you don't mind giving to a stranger, please email me, and I will send it along. I will guard your address like a junkyard dog, since I respect your privacy, and hate like h*** when anyone violates mine!

Monday, July 24, 2006 at 11:53:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

My sympathy on the demise of such a great plant. What a shame! I can understand how you feel the loss of it being in that spot.
Enjoy the DVD's....I bet that's fun watching those.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 at 5:24:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I'm sorry.. I'm glad you have lots of photos of it though..

Tuesday, August 1, 2006 at 6:32:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Why am I crying over a plant I never even knew existed. i must be hormonal.

Either that or this was just a beautifully written post.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006 at 4:10:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

That was a great post. So sad, but your little euphorbia ingens lived a good long 20 years and you have the pictures to remember it.

Congrats on your perfect post award.

Friday, August 4, 2006 at 11:24:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I join the rest of this community to pay my final respects to an awesome plant.
I have owned a cactus from a single (say leaf, teardrop shaped) for the last 20 years and its grown to about 7ft, also very wide but we take sections off and pass to close friends. It is nice to see its off spring growing well elsewhere.
So I have to say you gave it a good home for its existence.

Sunday, October 15, 2006 at 2:32:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I was just given a cutting of euphorbia from my neighbor. It's quite small now. I'm inspired to love and nourish my new little euphorbia to carry on the legacy.
Thank you for sharing your story.

Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 9:26:00 AM PST 

Blogger RCS
had this to say:

We have had a euphorbia (plant)(tree)for about 38 yrs. it now is about base,about 35 plus ft.tall& across the top, maybe, 30 to 35 ft.I've been blinded twice,& finally learned not to get milk in my eyes only lasted about two days but no's still very healty,also have one more about half as big.if one day I needed to get rid of it for some reason,besides cutting it down is there poison or???

Friday, April 16, 2010 at 2:25:00 PM PDT 

Blogger ?
had this to say:

What a waste!You could have made lots & lots of cuttings from all those perfectly healthy branches without 'brown' & made new plants.

Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 12:29:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

?---If you should happen to come back,there were no GOOD pieces to be saved and rooted. The "disease' had effected ALL the arms including all the way to the top smaller arms. This was the first time I have seen that kind of illness in any of my plants. Believe me, if I could have saved and rooted any arms, I would have. We have been through this any number of times over the years and have been able to plant many many arms from other problematic plants that had to be cut down. And I have some very gorgeous BIG plants from what was saved and rooted. Alas, such was not the case with this particular beautiful Ingens. The disease had spread too far.

Friday, October 7, 2016 at 11:57:00 AM PDT 

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