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January 25, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Sweep no more, my lady

Woman in long skirt and mantilla. Spanish dancer. John Singer Sargent. 1880's. (USPD artist life,, /

She was striking: graceful in her movements, powerful in her demeanor.  (USPD/

She was warned – like in “The Ant and the Grasshopper”.

“Hold still. Put on your coat! You cannot go out like that.”

You know the usual phrases in attempts to protect them.

Ignored. All of it.

Her long fingers twirled in the sun like a Spanish dancer. Her backbone straight with youth. So green.

So proud.

Knowing people always turned to look at her.


But as satin slippers stain and ugly goloshes are far more practical, every Beauty must accept reality. Or else.

“Hold still. Stop wiggling. Here, are the arm holes. Put on your coat! And keep it on! No. No playing Batman with swirling cape!”


Pencil plant after the freeze. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

Pencil plant who refused to behave and get dressed before the freeze. ©

Now she holds a drooping mantilla. Once elegant threads dropping despite her desperate attempts to hold on.

Nothing like a freeze to cut a willful plant back to its’ roots.

Ready to pick up sticks.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Read more of Euphorbia tirucalli’s (Pencil Plant) posts? She does have such a fancy name….

Like most young things, she worries over appearance and bullies. “Stick thin. Hatefully miscast.”

Her years as a beauty spooky: “Dark and stormy night (More than two sentences),

ALL rights reserved. Pencil plant and pumpkin. all rights reserved, copyrighted, No permissions granted

There she is. Sticking around with a vegetable about to go bad.©




  1. Ally Bean / Jan 25 2017 6:43 am

    I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a pencil cactus before. Pretty and graceful. Pity she was so headstrong about flaunting common sense and protecting herself from the elements. Some cannot be told what to do, I reckon.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 25 2017 7:13 pm

      I’ve been told that some places make hedges out of them. Kids find pencil plants creepy around Halloween…seen too many horror movies, I guess. This one’s been frozen to the ground before, so we’ll see. If the stalk stays green, we’ll wrap her up for the next freeze…and no doubt she’ll smuggle said “See, it’s easier without all the branches” Always have to have to leaf the last word. Thanks for shivering along

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kate Crimmins / Jan 25 2017 7:30 am

    We have that occasionally when someone cannot wait for their turn to bloom. They shoot up early only to get frosted.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 25 2017 7:17 pm

      Well, tonight is back to winter which will totally shock the plants that decided it was spring this week. What a goofy winter it’s been…and crowds in the closet with both summer and winter clothes having to be available instead of half of them packed away for the season. Stay warm and takes for greening up the comment basket

      Liked by 2 people

  3. easyweimaraner / Jan 25 2017 7:34 am

    always green and proud… like the beer on st. paddy day :o)


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 25 2017 7:19 pm

      Her stems are still emerald. (She was always big on throwing off old outfits) Without all the arms it will be easier to wrap if the weather takes a dive again. Meanwhile she’s skinny as a model. Thanks for sticking a comment here


  4. susielindau / Jan 25 2017 7:42 am

    Cool plant and big!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 25 2017 7:20 pm

      These really are big – you could grow one inside. It’s supposed to be cold hardy to 25F and we were about that. Actually this one froze to the ground a few years ago. If feeling good, these plants grow rapidly… could use it in your Halloween decorations! Thanks for planting a comment here

      Liked by 1 person

  5. PiedType / Jan 25 2017 10:41 am

    Poor thing! Will it come back from the roots or is it a goner?


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 25 2017 7:24 pm

      The wind was too strong to secure her wrap during the last freeze, but the stems are still green. A few years ago this plant froze to the ground and then came back, so I’m hopeful. It will just look like a scarecrow stake for a bit. (But I do have a second plant in a pot that gets moved inside just in case….learned that lesson.) Thanks for adding a cold comment!


  6. Amy / Jan 25 2017 11:34 am

    Love your writing, as always.


  7. heretherebespiders / Jan 25 2017 2:11 pm

    Oh no! Will she survive?


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 25 2017 7:28 pm

      While most of the branches are falling like firewood, the stems are still pretty green – and we’ve had warm moist weather/rain so she’s not too dehydrated now. A few years ago this one froze to the ground and came back, so we’ll see. But hedging my bets, I have a smaller plant in a pot that gets covered and moved into the garage as a precaution. These plants are to funny to let slip away. Thanks for sticking in a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Cecilia Mary Gunther / Jan 25 2017 7:05 pm

    Oh dear. Out without her coat.. c


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 25 2017 7:30 pm

      Really, Would not stop wiggling and dancing in the chilling wind that afternoon. Finally had to just give up. It’s supposed to be hardy to 25F which is about what we had, so I have hopes it will come back like it did a few years ago. Mother Nature insists on redoing the landscape once in a while – and there’s little sense in trying to stop her. Thanks for sweeping in with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  9. shoreacres / Jan 25 2017 7:23 pm

    Oh, that makes me sad. I had a lovely one that succumbed a couple of years ago. It might have come back, except I took it to a final resting place, said a few words, and didn’t look back. It was geting unwieldy, anyhow. They’re interesting plants. I have a photo taken when I was sitting in front of one in Key West that must have been 40′ high, with a trunk that truly was huge.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 25 2017 7:40 pm

      I understand in their regular locations, these plants are trimmed into hedges- which this one was going to have to get trimmed into …but Mother Nature had other plans. Just too windy that afternoon to get anything to wrap all those waving arms. I gave up. (and stuck a smaller one in a pot in the garage just in case)
      The one in Key West sounds amazing. This one froze to the ground the last cold winter we had and came back from the roots. The stalk is looking rather woody in places and there’s emerald green on the stalk under the soggy brown branches that are falling off. I have to keep Molly, the stick collector, away from that area as the sap will make her mouth numb….some people say the milky sap is poisonous, but usually just causes really bad tummy problems according to most sources.
      Oh, we’ll miss Mary Tyler Moore – I think she did more to encourage women – career-wise and standing up for yourself – than any Women’s Lib. group.
      Today so many are a branch from her characters and her real life.
      Thanks for greening up the comment pile (and I’m fighting ants now in that mud/gumbo monument…you can imagine)


  10. Gabe Burkhardt / Jan 26 2017 12:51 am

    Really enjoying your prose. Thanks for sharing with us!


  11. sportsattitudes / Jan 26 2017 11:50 am

    Here’s hoping that pencil plant doesn’t get erased. Yes, winter seems to be returning again for another visit after a couple wonderful days where any plant or tree had a chance to start accidentally growing again. At the moment, the fierce wind is currently negotiating with a handful of remaining leaves on some maple trees in our area…”Well, are you going to leaf now? What ARE you waiting for to fall…Fall?”


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 26 2017 6:44 pm

      Such leafing is hilarious. (Our oaks which shed in spring seem to be shedding petticoats already) They are predicting 70F+ for Super Bowl weekend and the NFL wants the roof open – what? All the AC will escape. (and you’ll needs hats and sunglasses….more time for the security lines.) They’ve borrowed about 40 military/police dogs who are now deputized for TX. Hot dogs – they wan the AC. (Molly is fuming that no AC would be so rude to fur guests.)
      Hang on through those winds – (at least we no longer have to worry with the TV antenna blowing off the roofs – that’s progress!) Thanks for sticking up for the plant

      Liked by 1 person

  12. the dune mouse (CybeleMoon) / Jan 26 2017 2:25 pm

    I love “the drooping Mantilla”!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 26 2017 6:45 pm

      Odd, but lacily accurate. She’s quite miffed but is telling people she’s doing retro and channeling Twiggy.
      Thanks for accessorizing the comment stack

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Littlesundog / Jan 29 2017 9:43 am

    Dressed scantily and wiggling about like that… not a problem in the warmer weather but oh, such nonsense in the winter. Such is life!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 30 2017 2:02 pm

      That one just won’t stick to weather reality. We are back to shorts and flip-flops today and the Super Bowl people/Houston Chamber of Commerce are hoping the weather holds all week.So difficult to not get out and prune/clean up the winter singed plants, but there’s bound to be another cold spell. Super Bowl is always tree trimming time, though. Thanks for dressing up the comment pile!


  14. patriciaruthsusan / Feb 1 2017 2:17 am

    Lovely post. Some cannot be told. I’ve tried and faced anger at times. Good writing, Philosopher. 🙂 — Suzanne


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 1 2017 6:19 pm

      Obviously you’ve been there, done that. Thanks for the commiserating comment (Appreciate your kind words.)


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