Stoked! The cycad is alive :)

Gardening is not something I thought of for most of my life. I enjoyed seeing plants, but beyond taking pleasure in that, I was just like anyone else I suppose. Revel in the moment, and move on to other things.

This changed when I bought my first house. It welcomed hands-on involvement with its large garden space, and more importantly I think, it was mine. That changed the perspective considerably. Slowly, with time, I gained the gardening experience and driven by my curiosity, I delved into plant science because I wanted to discover how to care for them and make them thrive.

On selling that house, I hoped that the new owners would take care of the garden, and enjoy it as much as I had. I know from talking to the new owner from time to time, that this wish had come true, and that makes me very happy.

I bought a smaller house with a much smaller garden plot. Nevertheless, the pleasure of gardening persists even in the smallest of spaces. As long as the passion is present, then I knew that the pleasure of designing, creating, working and maintaining that space will propel me forward and give me a lot of rewards for my efforts. So once I had the design approximately set in my mind for the new plot with a couple of earmarked plants from the old garden, I set about creating that new haven.

Gardening is a gamble sometimes. You do your best and create as many conditions for success as possible, yet some plants will flourish while others will surprisingly die, regardless of the effort you put it. This is nature and I’ve learn to accept and respect it.

But gardening is also all about hope! That’s why we gardeners talk to our plants, give them names and chastise them sometimes to do better. My children! What can I say…

One of the plants I decided to bring with me was a well established and healthy cycad. The plant is about 20 years old if not older, so yanking it out of its established space in the old garden and plonking it in the new one was a big gamble that required an awful lot of hope. .

This is how it looked in its original location:

The Cycad in its original place in my old garden in Barbar, Bahrain

See how glorious and happy she was?

Well, after planting it in its new home, it wasn’t a happy cookie. It soon went into shock and became yellow, dry and sad even after a few months after re-planting. It required all the hope and positive energy I could muster to just leave it where it was… and will myself to be more patient. The number of times I got close to yanking it and throwing it out were numerous, but something held me back.. This is how it faired by March 3rd, 2019 in its new location. See how wilted it looked?

And believe me you won’t want to look at its pictures in May as it was almost completely yellow, and it had lost most of its fronds.

Preparing for the oppressive heat of the summer, I covered it with 50% shade and increased its irrigation a little bit. I also threw in a bit more compost around it (I know this is not normally done in the summer, but I really didn’t have anything to lose at that point). Clinging to hope makes you do stuff you don’t normally consider… that’s why hope is a very dangerous thing!

Well that hope was well founded! Or our prayers were entertained!

Yesterday morning I went to say hello to it on my way to work, and I was so thrilled to witness new growth when I peeked under its veil!

Look! Look!

Those little fluffy things in the middle are fronds in the making! I hope I’m not getting excited too soon (fat chance of that ever happening!!!) but this is the best sign I’ve had of it actually being alive.

I’m so grateful. This makes me so happy!

Hope, you see, is a fantastic thing!

Have a lovely weekend all. xx


  1. David

    Welcome back Mahmood, so good to hear you are doing OK over there. Take care and all the best.

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