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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mystery Plant!

My plants at work always seem to flourish even as those at home wither and droop. That's no mystery, at work I have windows and sunshine and a schedule of watering and care. At home available windows look out on brick walls which block any hope of sunshine entering to nourish houseplants. Watering can be sporadic and cats contribute to the general malaise.

Consequently, I get comments at work on my green thumb and my healthy plants - to the extent that at my last job several co-workers asked me to nurse their failing plants back to health. One person finally just asked me to take over her plant - until it died, that is. Then she said I could have the pot and the dirt, if I wanted. I really did not want but I took it anyway and let it languish in a corner by the window. Imagine my surprise when months later, green shoots appeared, growing a few inches weekly, until they were tall and slender. Until I left that job, took the pot home and let them languish.

I brought the pot to my new job along with my other "office" plants. They love the Northwest window and the regular watering and feeding, spritzing in winter and occasional trims. I had no immediate plans for the unknown plant other than to let it sit in a corner of the window until needed.

Imagine my surprise when months later, I again noticed little green shoots. I noted their progress with weekly photos and sent them to friends to see if they knew what the plant might be. I kept sending photos and they guessed "it looks like a hosta" or "I think it's ginger". I knew it was not a hosta and I was pretty sure it was not ginger.

Week by week I watched it grow, wondering what it could be and why it spent so much time pretending to be dead, only to start all over again. I hoped this time I would not kill it, whatever it was. I christened it Junior Bonaparte and encouraged it with plant food and water. I thought it was in the orchid family (that's what the original owner thought) so I treated it like an orchid.

Today the mystery was solved. I came to work and prepared to water plants and was greeted by what was unmistakably a calla lily. Click on the pictures and see for yourself! I did a little reading and found that calla lilies are tropical and like moist soil. They go dormant after blooming and can be allowed to dry out, especially when grown in pots. Apparently I had been doing it right without knowing. Next time I won't worry and I'll hope they bloom again!

Quotable quotes; in the category You Knew I Had To Go There, Didn't You?

"The calla lilies are in bloom again."

Katherine Hepburn in the MGM film Stage Door.

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