The Tree and Me

Hey All!  The following is a fun review!  About a Tree.  And Me!

Far be it from me to boast and brag about having a green thumb—-because I don’t!

I’m that person, who, when I was working down on Wall Street at the old Morgan Guaranty Trust Company, would have my colleagues rushing over to my work area to water the plants and trim the leaves because if I so much as looked at the greenery, every one of them would shrivel up and die.

This is what could’ve become of my office plants had my co-workers not saved them!

The only potted plants I’ve ever seemed to be able to keep for the season were geraniums. And that’s because I trained my kids to deadhead the old growth when they were on their way to catch the school bus in the mornings.  Three kids and quite the number of potted geraniums on the front porch meant a lot of deadheading on their part.

Image result for atypical60 geraniums

….and now that the kids are grown, I’ve trained Bonaparte to deadhead the geraniums on the back deck.  How else would they live past a week?

Don’t even talk about what happened this past Fall.  I was becoming quite envious of the neighbor’s beautiful mums.  Apparently, Chrysanthemums are impossible to kill—unless you are me.  Four pots of these yellow puffballs met their untimely demise within one week.  One. Week.

Don’t even ask how, but I managed to kill these gorgeous plants within one week. One week!!  I should have returned them to Home Depot and asked for a refund!

I swear I did everything I was supposed to do.

We have a large potted plant that leads to the sun room.  Bonaparte takes care of it. Had I taken care of it, it would have been gone a long time ago.

A nice potted tree this is. No thanks to me!

And those Poinsettias that I’m so proud of because I take such great care of them—it appears that a certain Frenchman has been going behind my back…

And here I thought the poinsettias were thriving because of me–apparently they like when Bonaparte waters them and speaks French to them!

But—the straw that broke the camel’s back came in the form of a green, struggling Dieffenbachia that we had for quite a few years.  Bonaparte brought it back from near death after I touched it.  Then, sadly, the end came a few weeks ago.  I was honestly very sad.  It validated my lack of horticultural expertise.

You have no idea how upset I was when this plant died.  And it looked so good three years ago!!

I felt like some sort of botanical hit man.  Almost like Alain Delon as hit man Costello in the film Le Samouraï.

I’ve never seen a better trench coat–or a more handsome Alain Delon…

..and me–giving this Basil a kiss of botanical death. I hope this plant lasts till next weekend because I’ll need the leaves for pesto!

And that very day, when our Dieffenbachia was laid to final rest, something happened. It was as though somebody upstairs was watching over me and felt the pain of my failed efforts with greenery.  I received an email.  The email was from PermaLeaf®, a company specializing in all-weather outdoor plants.  Faux plants.  They wanted to know if I would like to review one of their plants!

From PermaLeaf’s site.  Yes.  The plants are–genuine faux foliage!  Our deck needs these for next summer!

Well, you know how I feel about certain tangible items labeled “faux”!  My faux tan, my faux nails, my faux hair!!!!  Now I had the chance to try a plant that seemed to speak to me.  And on the very day my longest-living real plant passed away!

Seriously.  CUT flowers in water last longer than potted plants in my home!

PermaLeaf® generously instructed me to pick a plant from their catalog.  After perusing the site’s products, which was, for me, akin to perusing the J. Crew site.  It was so hard to make a decision—I wanted everything and eventually I decided on a cute Ficus tree.  It would be the perfect solution to filling in a bare corner of our deck during the summer months and would be the perfect solution to fill in either a bare corner by my favorite cupboard upstairs or  the space that was left bare from where the Dieffenbachia once stood.

And last Friday, as I was out and about, I noticed a long, slender box that had been set upon our front step.  It was my tree!  Let me tell you, I took that box, ran upstairs and cut opened that box as quickly as someone who had just gotten a shot of vitamin B-12!

What a delivery!!!!

I felt like Ralphie’s father when he received his major award!

Remember the infamous “Major Award Leg Lamp” from  “A Christmas Story”…that’s how I felt when I received the tree!

Only I had better. I received a genuine, indoor/outdoor faux plant that would give me years of pleasure without the chance of destroying it or worse—killing it!

Let’s take a look at Fanfan.  And yes, I named my Ficus tree after one of my favorite swashbuckling movie characters—Fanfan La Tulipe!

French film star Gerard Philipe as “Fanfan La Tulipe” next to “Cartouche”, the best and most fun swashbuckling, adventure film of all time.  Philipe is the stunner on the left!  Now you know why I named my tree Fanfan!

Out of the box, the tree arrived housed in a plastic planter.  A plastic sheath covering the leaves ensured that the product was well-packaged.

I ran downstairs to grab this ceramic pot which had been with me since 1994.  It was used to throw spare change into–but this was the first time it would actually be used as a planter!  

Leaves unleashed from the packaging, they looked incredibly healthy and realistic!

Chippy introduced himself to Fanfan. Thankfully, he didn’t raise a leg to try to “claim” the tree as his!

Pleasantly surprised at how realistic Fanfan the Ficus looked,  I was particularly impressed with the sturdiness of the  knotted trunk and its mossy finish  It really is a nice faux plant!


I moved it over to another bare corner and I’m thrilled that the plastic pot fits so well into my ceramic one!



Admiring from the dining room where I sit to write.  This looks like the real thing. And I won’t kill it!


The best thing is how little my husband pays attention to what I say.  Not being able to contain my excitement I told him all about little Fanfan and how PermaLeaf® sent  it to me.  After nodding his head up and down with approval and a chorus of “Oui, Oui” and “Tres joli” I was happy he agreed with me.

But wait!  Last night as he was watering the poinsettias that I thought I was lovingly caring for, he walked over to Fanfan the Ficus with the watering can and asked how much water the plant needed. Folks I cannot make this up—this really happened.  Bonaparte was ready to water the faux tree because he thought it was real.

The poinsettias were watered but I had to put my foot down when my husband made an attempt to water Fanfan the Ficus!

And when I explained to him—or rather grilled him on why he didn’t pay attention to me when little Fanfan the Ficus was delivered, he stood there and smiled.  He smiled at the tree in wonder and just said in his French accent that he was sorry for not paying attention to me, and that he swore the tree was real.


Fanfan the Ficus is now in the spot that occupied our dearly-departed Dieffenbachia.  He’ll be here for a long, long time!

It doesn’t get much better than that!

Thumb’s up for Fanfan the Ficus!  And thanks to PermaLeaf  for sending me a wonderful gift to review.   I’m a faux-tree hugger!

Honestly, if you are like me and for the life of you just can’t seem to grow plants whether indoors or outdoors, or if you just don’t have the time to spend taking care of plants, the faux plants from PermaLeaf are really great.   If you are looking for a realistic faux plant, I highly recommend this company.  I think you will “real”ly like what they offer!

If it were not for our love of real trees and the real plants that grow around us, we wouldn’t be so enamored of their beauty.  But not all of us have the green thumb. Here’s an homage to trees–from one of my fave artists of all time–Cat Stevens. Enjoy!


About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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27 Responses to The Tree and Me

  1. Catherine, that little FanFan looks so real! Now all you have to worry about is dusting “him”. Enjoy! – Amy

    • Catherine says:

      Hahahaha! Amy, either Chippy can lick the dust off the leaves or I’ll go over the leaves twice a month with a dustcloth–at least I can’t kill it!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!

  2. love this and YOU!!! You know I’m having a love affair with the really old man out in my yard?? hes very tall….roughly 600 years old…and hes a really good listener!!! :))))

  3. Juliet says:

    So cute! my OH never listens to me either – but it is mutual – now when he asks me if I listened to HIM, I just smile and say no, I was saving my hearing. And I haver2 tips for plants right now – 1. hyacinth or indoor bulbs (go see my babies on my blog – they are just the cutest and smell gorgeous and only last a short while) and 2. herbs, they thrive on “neglect” in poor soil and dry conditions – think mediterranean and how they grow wild – no one necessarily looks after all those hillside plants do they, so if you manage to kill herbs you can at least claim it was because you were too kind to them, imagine that! no slur against your lack of green fingerness – no it is an advantage, you’re too kind!!!!!!! I love herbs.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Juliet. I killed my Rosemary bush by sheer neglect–but I took all the “needles” off and they are in a plastic bag now and I got my dried herbs!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  4. Momcat says:

    Hahaha! When I saw the photo of Chippy approaching the tree I was preparing for the worst…ie he had christened it or had it as a snack! Good boy Chippy, just admire the pretty tree. It is very realistic looking. So how do you care for it? Can it be rinsed off occasionally or dry dusting only?
    Beauty question: In the last photo it looks like you are wearing a bright pink lipstick and it looks great on you. Which one?

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Momcat! Oh…I was preparing for the worst too…..luckily he did nothing but lick the trunk. All I have to do is dust the leaves. Easy Peasy! Ohhhh that lipstick. It’s by Makeup Revolution Lip Amplification in High Voltage. It’s a great color–isn’t it???

  5. Margaret says:

    Hi Catherine, I’ve had problems with mums too even though I’ve taken good care of them. I get them from the big box stores and I think a lot of it has to do with what they go through before coming home. Ever see those dollar racks by the garden center cash registers with all the half-dead plants on them? What’s the real story there? Lol. That Ficus tree is gorgeous, so realistic! I need some artificial outdoor topiaries that can withstand a hot southern exposure by my front door, and cold shade on my back porch. I’ve requested a catalog from PermaLeaf and am looking forward to receiving it (hopefully they’re not too expensive). Their website photos are beautiful, thanks for the tip!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Margaret! Glad that you will be getting a catalog! Ohhhh man. I completely forgot about topiaries. Come to think of it, they would look good on my front step….now you’re giving me ideas!!!! XOXOXOXOXO

  6. Christine D says:

    So funny……BP watering fake tree……question is did it grow?
    I always kill poinsettias……Don’t know why….this year I didn’t buy any.
    I do love orchids though and they seem to love the light on one side of house. I talk to them, I should have blooms on a couple of them soon. Fresh flowers are the best though…..trader Joe’s keeps us in good supply. The orchids are the only thing that grow for me. My husband is not allowed to touch the plants. Oh yeah, we do have one cannabis plant a little out of season but growing beautifully……ha ha! It’s a weed!
    Chris D

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Chris–LOL!!! I actually tried growing weed when I was in my early twenties. I wanted to see if it would “take”. It didn’t!! I killed it. I”m looking at my Tray Joe’s flowers right now. Great flowers for a great price!!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

  7. Amelia says:

    Catherine, don’t be surprised if you come home one evening to find Fanfan has grown a foot or two.
    You never know what a little watering might do to a fake ficus tree. Have you watched “Disjointed” on Netflix with Kathy Bates and her crew of weedwackers? It’s about a medical marijuana pharmacy with all kinds of shenanigans going on inside. It is hilarious! All teasings aside, I do admire monsieur for his green thumb(s). Love your geraniums they are gorgeous! XO Amelia

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Amelie!! LOL–I gotta watch that man!!!! No–I haven’t seen that show but I love Kathy Bates so I’ll have to catch it. Thank you!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  8. Penny says:

    What a great looking tree! I was such a dedicated gardener – for decades it was my passion and my garden always looked lovely. But indoor plants – I killed them stone dead every time. Now I’ve moved to a no-garden small flat I have two ‘vases’ of faux cut flowers – I’m very surprised to say they look amazing! And one or two of my friends have even been fooled into thinking they were real. I might be bringing home some daffodils but that’s the only real plant that’ll grace my new abode! Great post! xxxxx

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Penny. You know–one of these days I have to go through old pics. When I had the house in New Jersey, I grew THE most beautiful Peonies on one side of the house and hydrangeas on the other. Everything just clicked–the soil, the exposure to was wonderful but somewhere along the line….those indoor plants and potted plants on the deck………it’s unreal..LOL “unreal” get it???? XOOXOXOXOCO!!!

  9. B. says:

    I could be teeeerrrribly jealous of these wonderful plants…! 😜😜😜😄😄🤗

  10. patricia blaettler says:

    This post made me think of my old house with a front porch in Maplewood, NJ. I remember many peaceful mornings with a cup of coffee in my hand as I dead-headed my geraniums. I felt so lucky to have my beautiful home.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Patty! You know..I was thinking the same thing. We had an old school park bench on the porch and I loved my morning coffee while doing a bit of dead heading myself. I miss that house–great memories!!! XOXOXOXO

  11. calensariel says:

    Loved this post! So me! Great tree. I’ve often thought of putting one in the entry. (Seriously, B12 gives you energy?)

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Lady Calen!!! Thanks! Oh…you should put a faux tree in the entry. It’ll live through all sorts of weather and guests!!! Yes. Supposedly B-12 shots give energy. I’ve never had one because I am not fond of needles but my mother had them all the time!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  12. HelloIm50ish says:

    There is nothing wrong with faux plants if you dont have a green thumb!
    Plants real or faux add an organic element to a room.
    Cats are a reason my clients don’t have real trees!
    You can even purchase a faux tree for outside and light it up year round. A Tavern on the Green themed porch!


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