Article 41 : Growing Things
“Oooo, a parcel!”
I love receiving parcels. Even when it is something you have ordered and the contents are known, it still feels like a birthday. But this latest package must be one of the strangest. And here it is.
Hmmm. How peculiar. Stay with me; things are not what they seem.
Jean Lure described it as a ‘bulb’ or ‘whatever it is technically’, when I shared this luxurious specimen with her. She’s right. ‘Whatever’. It resembles that kind of tumbleweed you see on Spaghetti Westerns, albeit on a small scale. Technically Anastatia, it is a small herb with tiny white flowers, a type of moss¸ but when it arrived you definitely wouldn’t know that and it certainly wouldn’t win the Chelsea flower show. Ugly is a compliment.
I love growing things. I recommend it. There’s nothing quite like seeing a tiny dried up seed begin to sprout, turn green and grow into a plant that has no resemblance to its original form. There’s a message there if you catch my drift. We are not what we shall be. My neighbour’s just lent me a great book, ‘The Well-gardened Mind’, by a psychotherapist Sue Stuart-Smith, who described growing seeds as her ‘biggest gardening buzz’, saying seeds ‘give no hint of what is to come, and their size bears no relation to the dormant life within them’. How much does this relate to our view of our relationships with each other.
Kids and plants are a great combination. Today Little Man and I have been planting mustard and cress in egg shells complete with inked-on faces, in the hope that once the seeds have germinated and grown, we can cut their ‘hair’ for egg sandwiches with mustard and cress. [Whose longing for a haircut?}. He’s not quite old enough for the story of Samson, but maybe there’s a link there.
I do a school pick-up once a week for the house that is all-things-plants. Intrigued to know how much the father’s interest had filtered down to the next generation, I asked about their first memories of growing things. The prompt reply was carrots. And they got to eat them. Good to know your food doesn’t grow on supermarket shelves. Well done that dad.
So back to my weird arrival. Its common name is the Rose of Jericho or the resurrection plant. Filling a soup bowl with water, I dropped the specimen in. That’s it. Four hours later it was a beautiful green fern-like plant. A native of the dessert region, it dries out between waterings but never dies – ideal for me! In time it will sprout delicate white flowers. You literally cannot kill it. When dry it will blow around in the dessert until it finds a water source, resurrect itself, then curl up and blow on to the next water source when the first runs out. If you want a prophetic illustration of the benefits of soaking folks, I give you the Rose of Jericho.