Jottings: Purple curls in the garden
Last fall it was just a few inches of stem snipped off from its parent, which was a beautiful, full mound of a football sized purple plant. It was called Coral Bells, although it also had the fancy name of Heuchera. That parent plant had happily grown for years tucked between many plants in the garden, but now it had sent up this small stem that needed a new home. The big plant was the only one with curly purple leaves which peeked proudly out between all the plain green ones, and it knew it was special.
At the end of the small stem taken from the parent plant there were a few tiny new leaves with curly purple edges just starting to reach for the waning autumn sun, so it was plunked it into an old clean yogurt cup filled with water and placed inside on the kitchen windowsill, where it stayed for months. It soaked up the soft winter sun and the tiny leaves slowly grew slightly bigger, but nothing like its parent. It was happy enough, even when lightly covered with bubble wrap on winter nights to keep the cold away.
Finally, when the calendar said it was spring, it was moved outdoors to its own big pot, with real dirt where it could spread its new roots. It was enjoying the warm spring sun and sprouted new tiny little purple baby leaves in the center, ready to spread out into a lovely mound of purple beauty in preparation for a new garden home.
But one day it found itself once again looking for the sun through a layer of bubble wrap hastily placed over its top, and then through a layer of wet white snow. Where was spring? It hung on, waiting, until once again the bubble wrap disappeared and the plant, with curly purple leaves reaching over the edges of the pot, began to grow. It had a mission now: It was getting ready for a big plant sale coming soon, hoping someone would think it was the prettiest plant there and purchase it for their garden. It had come, like all the plants in the sale, from the garden of its original owner, and was wishing to become part of another.
On the big sale day, the purple curly leaves shone in the lights as it sat on the table hoping for a new home. Around it were ferns, Hostas and many other plants the Heuchera recognized, all potted up and waiting, too, for a new garden to join. At last, a young girl with her mother pointed to the curly purple leaves and said she wanted that one, the one that had wavy leaves much like her own blond curls. Tucked into a box, it rode home in the car on the little girl's lap, and the next day it nodded its greetings to the other plants in its new garden as it was carefully placed in the soil next to a large green Hosta. The sun shone down, the leaves proudly glistened, and the Heuchera happily spread its roots in the new soil, ready to remind the little girl each day that they both had beautiful curls, even if its own were such a pretty purple.
Come look for new garden companions from the Lake Grove Garden Club on April 30, Our Lady of the Lake Church in LO, 8 a.m. to noon. The plants will be waiting for you!
Peggy Keonjian is a member of the Jottings Group of the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.
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