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Knowing my concern for the environment, for my birthday my husband bought me a jungle banana tree, a passion fruit tree and a music tree. Well, trees are a stretch. Actually, they're seeds of trees that will eventually duplicate the jungle of a tropical rainforest.

I cannot imagine buying these seeds for a woman who can't wait for her nails to dry, but there it is. I was all set to dump them in a pot of soil when he waved the five pages of directions in my face. "Read this first," he commanded. "You have to sand the seeds with sandpaper first.""You're kidding."

"Then you soak them in 3 percent hydrogen peroxide at full strength and let stand for 20 minutes. You transfer them to a small glass of water and let them soak for 24 hours, changing the water every 12 hours. You may have to soak the larger ones three or four days."

"Get hold of yourself," I said. "I wouldn't spend that much time shopping for a plastic surgeon."

I read the rest of the directions and began to age. Once the seeds are planted, they have to be covered with transparent wrapping and put in a warm pot and gently watered daily with warm water. When the seedlings make their appearance (on the day Michael Jackson gets pants that fit), they are introduced to the sun over a period of a month.

I don't know where my husband's mind was. I couldn't get grass to grow on a Chia donkey. The poor thing looked as if it had a skin disease.

I watch the Discovery Channel a lot and have come to the conclusion that you can't mess around with Mother Nature. I've seen grown men spend a fortune trying to raise a single orchid in a greenhouse, only to see one growing wild in between boulders on the hillside. I've viewed acres of ocotillos in Arizona with their bright orange blossoms dotting the countryside. Try planting one in your front yard and it dies before you can put the shovel away.

"I don't think I can do this," I said to my husband. "I have a life to live. I have the washing and ironing, the shopping and phone calls, and my car to keep going. I have to cook, eat and sleep. I don't have the kind of time for these trees that they demand. I have to take my hat off to all those dedicated natives in the Amazon who sat around sandpapering little seeds and soaking them in peroxide and fiddling with them for months. They deserve all the big bucks they can get for the lumber."

He smiled. "Patience. Remember, it isn't over until the fat music tree sings."