The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

The Money Tree

Baby money tree

Baby money tree

Last year we made a terrible blunder. We left our prized giant money tree out in the garden at the end of the summer. I kept on spotting it during autumn forays in the garden and always was too busy to bring it inside. Those ‘tomorrow’ moments happen a lot with me and are almost always guaranteed to end in disaster. The weather turned cold and frosty and I hardly ventured outside. One day I discovered that the money tree had collapsed and died.

“Oh crikey,” I thought, “What’s going to happen now?”

You see, when I was given this tree, I was assured by the previous owner that ever since she’d had the tree they had always had enough money.
“We struggled before but when my sister gave me this money tree everything subtly changed. We didn’t become rich but we didn’t worry about money anymore as we had enough to keep us afloat.”
“But surely you shouldn’t tempt fate and give it away?”
But they were moving and it was too big to take with them.

Now this lady was not a fanciful type. She was an ex games teacher and very down to earth. I took the money tree but felt a bit awkward about it. Later I discovered that their house move had been a mistake and they lost a lot of money in the process.

That large money tree used to live on Danny’s desk in the Rat Room. It flowered once a year – which is a rare event apparently. In the summer it was carried down to the garden for a holiday.

Occasionally I ponder why I left the money tree out in the garden. Was I subconsciously tempting fate? Did I really believe the story of the money tree? To be quite honest with you I just don’t know.

But when I found it in a desolate heap in the garden my first reaction was to scuttle off to Homebase and buy a tiny replacement tree. This lives on the kitchen windowsill and is thriving. I discovered that houseplants enjoy a drink of beer – apparently they love the nutrients as much as Danny does. So it’s plied with the dregs from his beer cans. Sometimes I force it onto the wagon and give it a long soak in filtered rainwater.

These trees are also called jade, friendship or coffin trees. When I was growing up my mother told me that when they are planted in their native South African habitat, they can reach an amazing size and the trunks can be split open to store corpses before burial. This rather put me off the plant that she had on the veranda.

Meanwhile our money tree sits on a saucer filled with trophies from the garden – the small head of a china doll, a bottle stopper and stones with holes all the way through. It is flourishing and much loved.

And our bank balance?
Well it’s only a very small tree.


  Leave a reply


  1. Thank you for the ecard, and happy new year to you, Danny and menagerie too!

    Hope the money tree continues to flourish (if Danny can spare the beer, lol).

  2. Thank you so much for my e-card it was such a lovely surprise.
    Shame you didn’t put a shout out for a cutting, I have a huge one that flowers most years. The cats are always knocking little bits off it, they root up real easily and you would be welcome to one.

  3. Kooky Girl

    Happy New Year ! The tree is looking lovely. I hope it flourishes for you. I am sure it will. :o) All the best, Kg.

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