Back in the spring, when Ronnie Agnew, Executive Director of MPB, left his office for a trip, I sneaked in (under the watchful eye of Claudia Morris, his executive assistant) and vandalized his office plants. The most egregious offense was taking a cutting from a large, overgrown, leggy, floppy (sorry, boss) "ribbon plant" (Dracaena marginata) that had been languishing in a corner window.
Its top-heavy stems were bent over, looking less like they were paying homage to visitors, more like they were too tired to stand upright. I knew that cutting them back would thicken them up with new growth on sturdier stems - it works well on Dracaenas, sheffleras, and other stemmy potted tropical plants, and I have done it successfully many, many times over the years.
Still, you gotta be confident to do this at all, much less in the Top Dog's office.
Knowing how upsetting the initial result might look, Claudia found a bit of ribbon for me to tie to the cut end, and I took a photo of the now-gussied up bare knob. Afterwards it occurred to me that if this didn't work, I would be lucky to keep my job as the MPB garden guru.
And just in case, I took the cutting home and stuck it in a bottle of water. It rooted pretty quickly, giving me a backup plant to offer later.
But it worked. The ribbon brought smiles and became a constant reminder of what I had done. And within weeks little bits of new growth started sprouting and quickly became top-knots of leafy growth. Here is a photo of the original ribbon, still there as a testament to gardening success.
But now whenever Friday morning rolls around and the boss knows I will be breezing past his office, he keeps an eye on both me... and his plants.