“My lemon tree is a mutant,” I told Eric the other day. “It’s growing spikes.”

“Spikes?” he said blankly.

“Thorns,” I corrected myself. “And Meyer lemons don’t have thorns. Maybe it decided to grow them to ward off the bugs after its experience last year.”

“Maybe,” he said, with the skepticism of two science degrees and a certificate in education.

I know, of course, that it did no such thing. I assume that when I cut it down to get rid of the scale, I cut down to whatever it was grafted to, and what I have is not actually a Meyer lemon anymore. I don’t know what exactly I do have, but it’s still citrus-looking, and it’s healthy, so I’ll see what turns up.

This tree has caused me more problems, though. It’s the one that introduced scale into my house, and that scale has jumped over to my papyrus. I’d just reconcile myself to losing a plant except that that’s our wedding papyrus, and I’ve kept it alive for two years and I wanted to keep it a lot longer, but the main thing I know about scale is that it was impossible to clean up from the lemon (whatever) tree.

I’ve been trimming the papyrus as I’ve found scale on it, but now it’s down to a single stalk, and it has scale too, and I don’t know that the plant will come back if I cut off this last bit. I’ve scraped off all the mature scale I could spot; I wiped off the tiny, tiny immature ones I also found marching down the stem; I’m going to watch it vigilantly and hope that maybe, against the odds, I can completely eradicate this damned pest.

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