Surprising plants

When we first moved here, there were a few plants left by the previous owner. They mostly had very little soil, dried to a crisp so that any life was astounding. This included a couple of amazingly vibrant poinsettias, as well as dozens of dying succulents in the back yard, and the houseplant pictured above. Not attracted to the leaves, I thought, “now that is a singularly unattractive thing.” But I started watering it, along with the plants I’d brought.

A week or so ago, we noticed strange but captivating pink, hexagonal, alien clusters emerging! Soon they opened into sweet star-shaped flower bunches!

Hoya carnosa, it’s called. Common Names: Honey Plant, Porcelain Flower, Wax Plant. It originates in East Asia and Australia and is apparently a commonly grown houseplant. This was a fun way to discover it.

We moved the rest of our stuff from storage this past weekend. Of course, as fate would have it, it rained the whole day – the first real rain of the fall.

From this photo, you’d never guess that, hidden in there are my mother’s beautiful piano, a hundred-year old carven Chinese chest, and other treasures that are now in our home.

The next day, when we’d finished the brutally hard task of getting the piano up several steps and into the living room, along with the rest of the furniture and paintings, my daughter and I treated ourselves to fish tacos at a nearby establishment. Outside, as we waited for our order, I discovered another surprising plant; a very large rock and tree shared nearly the same space. Plants were thriving, squeezed into the enormous stone next to the parking lot.

It seems like there’s a metaphor tucked in there somewhere. Not everything has to be spread out in wide open spaces, or obviously displayed to be worthy of admiration, perhaps contented. Things might be happier crowded, while hiding hidden treasures.

Having the piano, the carven chest, my mother’s bedroom set, is working some subtle magic. Surrounded by family heirlooms, familiar from childhood, and hearing the piano, is filling up corners of me that I hadn’t noticed had hollows.

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