High Hopes: Growing A Houseplant, Sharing A Mother’s Day Memory

“Just what makes that little old ant, Think he can move that rubber tree plant…”

Over the weekend Zen-Den informed me that the houseplant I think is a rubber tree plant is, in fact, a jade plant.

Apparently I do not know my houseplants, even if I can grow them.

“Anyone knows an ant, can’t, Move a rubber tree plant…”

Z-D became aware of my botanical ignorance when I was happily watering and singing to what I believed to be a rubber tree plant.

I’ve mothered and nurtured this NOT rubber tree plant for the last few years, channeling Shirley Feeney every time I am near it.

“But he’s got high hopes, he’s got high hopes, He’s got high apple pie, in the sky hopes…”

My efforts have resulted in a healthy houseplant that I feel adds a certain joie de vivre to our family room.

It, the plant, being so healthy and all.Β Me, the plant mama, being so loving and all.

“So anytime you’re gettin’ low, ‘Stead of letting go, Just remember that ant…”

But there’s more to this story than my confusion about a houseplant.

Yes, this is a hat tip to my mother who adored Shirley Feeney’s spunk and who had me singing in the Cherub Choir at the First Presbyterian Church when I was but a little sprig.

“Oops there goes another rubber tree plant, Oops there goes another rubber tree plant, Oops there goes another rubber tree plant.”

It was there at a luncheon dedicated to mothers that we little cherubs, standing in three rows on risers, sang “High Hopes” to our mothers. Thus to this day whenever I sing this song, I think fondly of my mother.

Regardless of the kind of plant I’m watering while I am singing the song. πŸ™„

~ ~ β€’ ~ ~

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who is celebrating it this weekend

~ ~ β€’ ~ ~

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Pleasantly crazy. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Wordy.

101 thoughts on “High Hopes: Growing A Houseplant, Sharing A Mother’s Day Memory”

    1. Jill, once I researched the two plants I realized they were different plants. [I linked to each one in the post.] However now that I know my mistake, I’m still singing the song when I water our NOT rubber tree plant. ‘Cuz I’m ornery.

      Like

    1. Dan, I like that song, too. It was a surprise, however, when Z-D told me that the plant I was growing wasn’t a rubber tree plant. After all this time… a case of mistaken identity. 😳

      Liked by 1 person

  1. The Jade plant species is “Crassula Ovate” – songs like an opera piece would work… or you could just sing the rubber tree song – I’ve always liked it anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m showing my age when I say I remember when that show was broadcast.

    Your jade plant must love you tremendously for all of the attention. I had a rubber tree ages ago that finally gave up the ghost. I wish I had inherited my dad’s green thumb. Even rocks grow around him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. L. Marie, Laverne and Shirley makes me smile to this day. The humor is timeless. Apparently I’ve never had a rubber tree plant, but am good with jade plants. You had a rubber tree plant? Can you confirm that! πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The good news is that the plant doesn’t know what it is. It just is. I imagine it loving the attention and sweet singing it gets and rewards you appropriately. The only plant I can have indoors is a pothos. I kill everything else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kate, good point about the plant. It just is. I think there’s a lesson about life in that sentence. You only grow pothos? I like them, too. Have a few around here, but don’t sing to them. They’re less needy than my NOT rubber tree plant. 😐

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Even as a biologist, that has always been my point of view. Naming things is a human compulsion. Living things just are what they are and couldn’t care less what we call them. Plants enjoy music as much as we do. (They don’t call themselves β€œplants” either 😁.)

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I’ve had 2 or 3 jade plants and killed them all. Apparently it is a water issue, but I seem to be unable to find that fine line between too much and just right. The leaves start dropping and then I have a jade stalk…not attractive at all.
    Right now I seem to have a green thumb with spider plants so yay for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb, I’ve never been able to grow spider plants and they are pretty. Good for you. I seem to do okay with this jade plant but I couldn’t explain why. Maybe it’s my rendition of “High Hopes” a la Shirley Feeney that encourages it to grow.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Donna, that song is imbedded in my brain thanks to Cherub Choir. If my mother were alive no doubt she’d be entertained that of all the songs we kids sang, many of them hymns, this is the one that stuck. πŸ˜‡

      Like

  5. I am terrible with plants and therefore we have none. We did, however, have one that my husband gave to me when we were first dating. He said as he gave it to me…”as this grows, so will our love grow.” What pressure he put on me with that sentence! What if I killed it right away??? Fortunately, the plant did grow and grow and we had to repot it several times and even break it up into more than one pot. It made it through 4 moves but it finally died when we moved into this house, probably because I was too busy singing to a new baby instead. By that time we had been married for 12 years so I figured the relationship was solid. Love Laverne and Shirley and what a great memory you have there. Would make a great scrapbook page with pictures of your mother and the plant and the words to the song…just how my mind works πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janet, your story is wonderful. I can see your point about not letting the plant die, considering the meaning that went with it. That’s a lot of pressure, but making it through 4 moves is a big-time success imho. Plus looking after the kids might be more important than nurturing a plant. Your scrapbook page idea is cute. I like how your mind works!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Margaret, singing that song before our mothers was a big deal. And man-oh-man did I want to know the words, still know the words. Sometimes it’s so odd what stays in my brain. Enjoy your earworm.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re keeping a plant alive! That earns points in my book. We have what I later learned was a jade plant in our yard. I’ll think of you now when I look at it! (I don’t water it. The outdoors are the Hubs’ domain. Probably why it’s still alive.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Betsy, I don’t know much about how to keep a jade plant alive– other than to sing to it and ignore it from time-to-time, then dump water on it. That’s my approach. Probably won’t find that advice on a gardening website though. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m with ParentingisFunny, Ally. I’m absolutely terrible with plants, and I feel anyone who can just keep one alive gets extra credit in my book. Thanks for the Laverne and Shirley remembrance — truly an underrated show. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marty, I can grow houseplants– well, some kinds of them. Indifference is my green thumb secret to their growth. And singing, of course. I agree about Laverne and Shirley. It was a hoot then, and still is whenever I catch a re-run of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh wow! I so love this post! Of course, I sang the song. And what a sweet picture of little kids singing to their mommies. Your mom was the sweetest! The clip of Laverne and Shirley put the cherry on top!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beth, I knew you’d like this. That Cherub Choir helped make me the woman I am today! And I suspect that Laverne and Shirley contributed too. It’s odd sometimes what I remember from back then– like the lyrics to this song. πŸ˜‡

      Liked by 1 person

  9. β€œAnyone knows an ant, can’t, Move a rubber tree plant…”

    Being unfamiliar with the song, I initially thought you were channeling some Seuss story I didn’t know. I was pretty little when Laverne & Shirley was on, and never saw the show in reruns. But I know the theme song. From back in the day when almost every TV show had a notable theme song to go with a unique intro…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. evilsquirrel13, you didn’t sing this song in school or summer camp or sunday school? It was a standard where I came from.

      I agree that Laverne and Shirley had a great theme song and the show was funny. The relationships in the show were goofy, but Shirley’s optimism was a hoot. And she loved singing ‘High Hopes’ to prove it.

      Like

  10. Maybe your lil’ plant thinks now it is a rubber tree plant and YAY for the lil’ plant then! Grow, plant, grow!

    I love Shirley’s positive attitude, too. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tara, you may be right. The little jade plant may think it’s a rubber tree plant and as such has been growing to its potential. All I know is I was surprised to learn it is a NOT rubber tree plant. Shirley’s attitude was so positive and could get my mother laughing almost before Shirley said anything.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I remember a long-ago visitor from the Midwest admiring a huge jade plant we had in our yard. They grow like weeds here so I was surprised at his reaction, including his joy when I broke off a limb so he could take a cutting home with him. Let me know if you want a companion for your jade plant, Ally πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janis, as a Midwesterner I’m amazed when I see jade plants growing outside. Here they’re houseplants, never anything more. I’ll keep you in mind should I decided to branch out and grow more NOT rubber tree plants. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Jan, my mother loved that show, Shirley in particular. I rarely go down memory lane, but when it comes to ‘High Hopes’ and my NOT rubber tree plant, I just had to.

      Like

  12. That was a fun post Ally and a nice little tribute to your mom. I always watched Laverne & Shirley and looked back fondly on some of the show’s best moments when they did a retrospective after Penny Marshall died. I used to have a green thumb in the yard, but don’t dabble out there anymore like I did a decade ago. I can’t grow houseplants to save my life, even the easy-to-grow ones like spider plants or ivy.

    Like

  13. I have a pothos, a spider, an orchid, and an aloe. I need plants that like neglect. I’ve tried to branch out (Around the time I had to separate my spider because it got so big I decided to make two plants, I got cocky and thought I could handle something more involved) but I’ve killed everything else. I’ve never tried singing to rhyme though…maybe that’s the secret ingredient?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. katie, I can’t explain it but singing this old song does seem to make my NOT rubber tree plant grow. I can grow &/or have grown pothos and aloe, but orchids and spider plants are beyond me. I’ve come to believe that plants have a lifespan and when it’s over, so be it– regardless of what you do.

      Like

    1. laura, she disliked houseplants! Didn’t have a green thumb, but liked what other people could do. She did adore Shirley Feeney so that’s how I got reminiscing down this path. Kind of an odd Mother’s Day memory, but an authentic one.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Late to the party, again… I love being reminded of that song, Laverne and Shirley, and the enormous jade plant that ate our laundry room (okay, not really). It was an impressive plant and lovely when it flowered. I’ve seen them used as hedges in San Diego. Now I just have a type of jade that is more like a creeper and lives in a small pot in my kitchen window.

    Little girls should always sing along with mommy. Mom played guitar and we sang Christmas carols and folk songs, e.g. The Fox, The MTA, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eilene, I’ve never grown a jade plant that has gotten huge. The NOT rubber tree plant that prompted this post is about a foot high and wide. I don’t think I’ve seen a jade hedge but that’d be cool.

      Your mom played guitar while you sang along? That’d be fun and silly and great. A good childhood memory, no doubt.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I came from a family that wanted me to learn about music. I played a few instruments and sang in church choirs, but as a group we didn’t sing together in any familial way. Yours sounds like a fun group.

          Liked by 1 person

  15. I recall being a kid and mom brought a jade plant home, and she called it a rubber plant. I don’t know where she got it, (store vs someone’s cast off) so I can’t say that it was labelled as a rubber plant. My guess is that “rubber” was the generic or colloquial term applied to the jade plant.

    I also recall being mighty impressed seeing a specimen in a botanical garden – over a meter in all directions – and IN BLOOM! Did you know they bloom?

    Talk about high hopes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maggie, I wonder if you’re right about “rubber plant” being a generic name for a jade plant? That’d explain why I thought our jade plant, the sort of houseplant I remember from childhood, was a rubber tree plant. You could be right. I grew up in a small town where known facts weren’t always factual.

      No, I didn’t know jade plants could bloom! Now I have another goal with this plant. I’ll go tell it about how it can bloom anytime it wants. Put the idea in its head. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh, Ally, this post is so joyful and fun, thank you! I’ve got high hopes for the weekend for some gardening of my own. I still look forward to it, even though my nest will be empty cuz’ those grown-up rascals that made me a ‘mom’ won’t be in town, and my mom is gone – but, I can be strong and survive and still move some plants around like a little ant. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shelley, I’m glad you liked this post. I don’t often go down memory lane, but somehow this post came together in my mind like it was meant to be. My mother is long gone, too, but I do think of her on Mother’s Day– not with sadness, instead with joy. Have a happy weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. That’s a great plant to grow (avoid pouring a glass of what you think is water when it’s really left over sprite in it as one roommate who couldn’t grow plants did. She was crushed when she realized she murdered the only plant that ever liked her)
    Everyone used to sing that song – they taught it to small kids everywhere. (I didn’t realize when it was written. Seems like I remember a Disney cartoon character singing it. The fact that it was so well received probably means it taps into something strong in humans. A list of those who recorded it https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Hopes_(Frank_Sinatra_song)
    (Gads you always come top with stuff that sends me off hunting more information..fun. Who needs to clean up the house HaHa)
    Enjoyed the post ( and style written )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. philmouse, that’s funny that your roommate poured Sprite on her plant thinking the liquid was water. I can see how that could happen.

      I figured that Laverne and Shirley popularized this song, but you’re right. It must have been popular before that TV show. I just remember it as a song children were taught to sing as a way of programming positivity into us. Thanks for the link.

      Occasionally I write something in a different way than my usual flapdoodle and twaddle. This was one of those times. I’m glad you liked it.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Love that song. We sang it around the campfire with the girl scouts.

    I had a Jade Plant a few years back ~> and a neighbor had one that was almost 100 years old! Mine didn’t show that sort of longevity. Perhaps I should have sung to it more often!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. nancy, ‘High Hopes’ was one of those childhood songs that seemed to fit into every group I belonged to. I didn’t know jade plants could live that long. Suppose I should put a clause in my will about who will inherit it? πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Utterly charming, Ally Bean ❀
    I believe the songs we sing to our plants are unimportant, as clearly the love and CO2 we administer is the crucial aspect. You've done a fine job. High hopes for all of you.

    My Phil isn't actually a philodendron. My MIL informed me I had two mixed up and she was right, but after thinking Phil was a philodendron for the last 5 years (having always thought I grew Phils, all my adult life) I really can't shake it or adjust myself. I now forget what he is, but he's forever Phil. I guess when this Phil dies, I will thoughtfully consider the end of Phils and give them appropriate names corresponding to their actual names.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joey, yes it is the CO2 that is probably the real reason the NOT rubber tree plant is growing. Plus water and sunlight– and a healthy heap of free love in the form of indifference.

      You’ve had a similar experience with Phil. Even if he isn’t who you thought he was I’d still call him Phil, too. Gotta go with what works, don’t want to upset any houseplant by challenging its authenticity you know. I have a Phil. He lives in our study and watches over me as I write.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Beautiful memory and now I have the ear worm of the ant song –
    But it is a nice song to have bouncing in the noggin
    – and you know how They say breathing on plants can help them grow – well singing to them is that extra infusion to the plants and to the household πŸ’›πŸŒ±πŸŒΏ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Prior…, that song sticks with a person, I’ll give it that. I hadn’t thought of how singing is extra strong breathing, but apparently it has helped my NOT rubber tree plant to grow big. *yay*

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Judy, I agree with you. Positive thinking has helped me grow our NOT rubber tree plant and I also agree that just seeing a photo of Laverne and Shirley makes me smile. That was such a good, fun, ridiculous show.

      Like

  21. All I can really say is that a jade plant looks like it *should be* called a rubber tree plant because, well, the leaves are rubbery! I have a feeling this is quite a common mistake. And I totally remember that Laverne & Shirley episode–loved that show!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kate, I agree with you. The jade plant leaves are rubbery so maybe that’s why I thought it was a rubber tree plant. Who knows? Laverne and Shirley is one of those TV shows that made an impression on me via my mother.

      Like

Cool kids leave comments. Be a cool kid.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.