Chocolate Mimosa

by mantis-philes

As much as that sounds like a yummy, chocolatey adult breakfast beverage (I’ll have mine with a side of lemon pound cake and freshly sliced strawberries, please!). It’s more formal name is Albizia ‘Summer Chocolate’.

I became obsessed with this chocolatey, frothy, ferny TREE after visiting Yew Dell Gardens outside of Louisville, Kentucky. I absolutely had to have one. Boy was it difficult to locate at a price point this day-gig, working stiff could  shell out for something that might expire in my garage while being overwintered.

None the less, this persistent plantaholic finally located and purchased one, mail order.  After almost two years of searching.  It was a spindly dormant stick.  I was assured the root stock was healthy (it was graft) and if it didn’t break dormancy it would be replaced.

Gardeners have nothing if not hope.

So I potted up my treasure and snuggled it in next to other sleeping beauties in my 45 degree garage.  The angel trumpets and pineapple lilies, banana tree and elephant ears weren’t bothered by another bunkmate.

And so came spring.  The pineapple lilies sprouted and the banana began its spring writhe.  And so too the buds on the chocolate mimosa.  How gratifying that hope and trust and patience would allow this gift to me, packaged in these tiny fernlike wisps of leaves.  Unfurling like lace off a spool.

Three years have gone by and  it has not gone far beyond the spindly stick stage, burning out completely during the drought last year due to my not-so-benevolent neglect.  Miraculously arousing itself after generous applications of water, completely unsure of what it’s reception might be.

But this is the year of not putting up with bad behavior.  This is the year the three spindly limbs of my delicate prize need to be supported by more attendance on its family tree.  So the brutal task of constant nipping at any new growth on those three spindly stems began.  Nip it in the bud.  Nip, nip, nip.

Miss Chocolate Mimosa fought like a trooper, the triumvirate of old limbs setting out successions of  new leaves, hoping to slip one by me. Continue like we were before.

Heartlessly, I plucked these little leaflets.  Week after week, watching the lower part of the trunk every day for signs that this daily amputation would produce more limbs, more leaves, more chocolate froth.

And now, it is so.  Limbs are springing out all along he trunk, above the graft where the chocolate really lies.  Victorian jet laced fern-like leaves unfurling as if there is no tomorrow. Promises of being with the program. My program.  Whatever that brings. A fountain of chocolate.  Please pass the pound cake…….

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