Friday, September 24, 2010

"For best results, talk to your vegetables" -Prince Charles

  I see where Prince Charles is talking to plants again.
 In a new BBC documentary about the Prince of Wales, he admits, "I happily talk to the plants and trees, and listen to them. I think it's absolutely crucial," the prince says. "Everything I've done here, it's like almost with your children. Every tree has a meaning for me."

That story reminded me of my mother, and how much she loved plants…..and gardening. She took good care of her plants, but as far as I know she never talked to them.

However, they did talk to her!

At least her “Cape Jasmine” bush did. That was the first thing she planted when she and my Dad moved into our house on East 5th Street in 1936.

Just like her mother had done around 1906, and her grandmother had done in 1880 or so and who knows how many other “Mothers” before that, she brought a cutting from the Cape Jasmine bush in the yard of her South Carolina childhood home and planted it in front of her brand new home. But how successful this great, great grandchild of those ladies' favorite plant would be was in doubt.

Charlotte winters were known to be unfriendly to Cape Jasmine plants. South Carolina was about as far north as they would grow.

Over the years, whenever the cold winds of winter blew, Mom never failed to cover that historical plant. With her loving care, it thrived in its Charlotte home for over 65 years, rewarding its human mother, with its oh so sweet fragrance and beauty at eerily appropriate times; such as household birthdays and special occasions.

After I moved to Washington my little family’s visits became special occasions for my Mom, and I hardly remember a time when she didn’t point to the window to show us a brand new Cape Jasmine Bloom that she contended had recently appeared as if to celebrate our visit.

Linda and I tried several times to bring a cutting up to our home to see if we could keep the family tradition alive, but to no avail. The last time we tried was just before my Mom moved out of her home. She had started the cutting in a small pot and apologized for its diminutive size, explaining that it was too early in the year for the tiny bud to bloom but by the end of the summer the plant itself might possibly do OK….at least til winter.

To our surprise, the day after we returned from our trip to Charlotte, we awoke to the sight of the prettiest little flower you ever saw standing proudly in that dull clay pot.

It was quite a sight. I even remember the date; it was May 26th.

My Mother’s birthday.