Goodbye, Avi

Sometime in 2001 or 2002, while I was still living in the City Bowl, Liezl and Volker gave me a couple of avocadoes from Liezl’s parents’ avocado tree. I kept the pips and tried to get them to grow. Only one survived.

When Richard and I moved in together at the end of 2002, “Avi” came with us. It lived through gale force winds, flurries of massive rain drops, sweltering summer heat, … and me forgetting to water it for days in a row. (I’ve gotten a bit better, or perhaps my plants have just gotten a bit more robust?) It even flourished.

When we moved to Pinelands in 2004, Avi of course came with us. He was still fairly small at that time.

However, as we had been warned that avocado trees can grow massively big, with root systems that can lift up your entire house, we thought it prudent to plant it out in the grassy traffic island running all down the centre of our tree-lined street. At the time that we were digging, we realised that this was most likely were the City Council’s sewage pipes were running too, so perhaps this was not entirely the best spot.

In addition, every few months, the City Council would send their team around to mow the verges and traffic islands. To their credit, they seemed to recognise that Avi had been deliberately planted, and thus didn’t run over him with the lawnmower or nick his stem with the weedeater. In fact, they often cleared the invasive grass around his roots… Bless them….

Richard sagely pointed out that it was highly unlikely that – even if Avi did survive to bear fruit 10 years down the line – we would ever get a single one. Our roaming bands of recyclers, the trolley brigade, the horse and cart people, and assorted skelms would have picked them all.


Poor Avi was buffetted so mercilessly by the South Easter during the hot months – and then by the Northerly winds during the rainy season – that we ended up constructing an elaborate screen around him. The screen was shredded within a year or two. (Well, rather the screen than Avi’s leaves!)

But despite all these adversities, and despite me forgetting to water him… again…. Avi flourished and grew. Several of the side-shoots were developing into strong little branches.

The blazing summer heat of Dec 2007-Jan 2008, however, was too much for him. Add to that the (perhaps predictable) lack of a regular watering regimen (by me… I hang my head in utter shame…) and the compensatory flooding with entire watering cans, he shrivelled up and died.

So today, we admitted defeat and laid him to rest.

It was a very sad day.

R.I.P, dear Avi.

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