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A portrait shot of the publisher's ex-runt first hoya compacta flower that bloomed two years earlier than usual since it was nursed from root rot.
A portrait shot of the publisher's ex-runt first hoya compacta flower that bloomed two years earlier than usual since it was nursed from root rot.

One part water, one part soil and sharp scissors

Recognising root rot is the first step towards saving a plant or tree, and just like gardening, a ‘dying’ business can often be saved by a repot and a solid prune. ANGELA HAN shares her experiences.

Being a gardening enthusiast, I have a predilection for rescuing dying plants. As long as the roots are still healthy, there is always a chance it can be saved with some attention and care. While not all survive, it’s immensely edifying when they do.

One of my proudest ‘rescues’ is a Hindu rope plant that I bought for a few dollars. Looking more dead than alive, I should have thought better than to take something home that may introduce new pests into my mini- ecosystem, but still took the risk knowing it was a rare find.

I was told that the clusters of gem-like petals smelled of dark chocolate, which would intensify as the sun went down.

Armed with hope and a bag of dirt, I was determined to save it. Having done some research, I knew it would need to be tightly root-bound in arid soil with a few hours of indirect sun each day – and given the rot in its roots, even more care would be needed.

Because it takes Hindu rope plants anywhere between five and seven years to mature and finally flower, there was not a second to waste if I wanted to nurse it back to health and see it blossom!

Caring for plants teaches the limitations of what is, and isn’t, within my control, especially having to work at the pace of Mother Nature and Father Time.

Of the many lessons that the natural world reveals, here are the most important:

A time to love, a time to hold back

It doesn’t take long to discover each plants’ particularities, with some being more ‘needy’ than others. Tropical Calatheas can develop brown edges around the vibrant leaves if you so much as look at it the wrong way, while the hardy Zamioculcas thrives on neglect.

Either way, it’s commonplace to kill houseplants with kindness, especially when you’re trying to rescue one.

Similarly, our professional and work lives require varying degrees of attention in order to succeed, and excessive time spent serving the wrong needs can have destructive consequences.

"Pruning can sometimes feel ruthless when you’re staring at a barebone branch, but patience is always rewarded in time with a more bountiful harvest."

For example, spending too much time watching the bottom-line could be detrimental to your creative output; if the soul of your business suffers, at a certain point there will be no bottom-line left to manage.

Inversely, spending too much time on creativity and neglecting the bottom-line could lead to cost blow-outs and wasted energy, whittling away the profit margin on even the most perfect product.

To have a flourishing business, it’s imperative to regularly assess which areas need more – or less – attention and adjust your behaviour to address problems before it’s too late.

Good ideas, and new businesses, are most fragile at conception; close monitoring is necessary but care must be taken not to ‘overwater’ or ‘over feed’. You can only expect to yield results under the right conditions (controllable) at the right time (uncontrollable).

Fine-tuning small things each day can make a vast difference to ensure your business thrives.

A time to prune, a time to harvest

Ruthless pruning at the right time, and in the right place, is the golden rule of green-thumbed people; roses bloom with a vengeance after a good pruning, and peaches are sweetest after they’ve blushed.

Like an untended garden, it’s easy to let innocent overgrowth consume your income and unclipped branches choke the business. However, making the right cuts will yield immediate changes and can turn a malnourished business into one that is robust and ready for growth.

“Is there a need to finally address dead stock and throw away the tired old window displays?”

“Do I need to sever ties with non-paying clients or deal with toxic staff members?”

“Have I reviewed unnecessary business expenses that have grown out of control, like weeds?”

Pruning can sometimes feel ruthless when you’re staring at a barebone branch, but patience is always rewarded in time with a more bountiful harvest.

A time for life, a time for death
A shot of a healthy Hindu rope plant, Source: Wikimedia Commons
A shot of a healthy Hindu rope plant, Source: Wikimedia Commons

It’s easy to feel like a failure when you’re holding a dead plant over a rubbish or compost bin.

“What could I have done differently?” is a question that has haunted anyone who has failed to bring their vision to fruition.

Yet, even after doing everything right, there are some projects that will fail for reasons beyond comprehension.

Luckily, as it turns out, death isn’t the opposite of life – but a critical part of it. In fact, many cultures believe that death completes and fuels the next cycle of life. In between the two points of existence, we simply learn to accept the storm, and cooperate with the wind and sun.

So, remove dead matter, learn from your mistakes and prepare the ground for new endeavours. With the change in seasons comes a sequence of opportunities that can become a gift to nurture resilience and strength.

A high school teacher, who was an avid gardener herself, once told me her daily prayer: “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

For those wondering, my Hindu rope plant flourished and flowered within three years, and has continued to multiply each year since. The more clippings I share with friends and colleagues, the more it seems to grow. Six years on, this overachieving ex-runt thrives on neglect and boasts ropes of dark glossy leaves draping to the floor.

And yes, the rumour was true; through the nights of spring and summer, the pink flowers of the Hindu rope plant exude a rich chocolate perfume that comes alive when the sun goes down.

Now if you’d excuse me, I have some pruning to do!

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Angela Han

Publisher  • Jeweller Magazine


Angela Han has more than a decade’s experience in the jewellery and luxury goods industry, having worked in all sectors from retail and manufacturing to design and supply. She has been with Jeweller for over ten years and has extensive experience in print and digital media publishing, business-to-business communications and strategy. 

Qudo (Time Supply)
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