MOM AND THE AFTERLIFE OF PLANTS by Janice Wagar

May 13, 2012

My mom, bless her heart, did not have a green thumb. Much as she loved houseplants, she could not keep them growing to save her soul.

Her favorite plant was the Gloxinia, a showy floral with large flowers of magenta, purple or vivid pink.

A healthy plant would bloom enthusiastically until it gradually declined and stopped.

Now, the wonderful thing about Gloxinias is that after they die back, you can rest the plant in a cool, dark place for a month or two. The plant will then “return to life” and, with proper care, it will blossom once more.

This was a big factor in her love of the gorgeous plants. While all the African violets, amaryllises, Easter lilies, poinsettias and other plants that died in her care were gone for good, the Gloxinia had the potential to live again. My frugal mom also loved that idea that she could justify the cost as a good buy since the plant could come back to bloom another time.

Every Spring, she bought a beautiful, healthy Gloxinia covered with buds and blossoms and brought it home. When the plant finally died back, she carried it into a dusty corner of the basement to rest– and then forgot about it.

After Mom died, my siblings and I were faced with the task of cleaning out her basement. Among all the boxes of clutter were dozens of old plastic pots, still wrapped in pastel-colored foil and containing the desiccated remains of old Gloxinias.

I like to think of this as a sweet testament to Mom’s enduring belief in some kind of afterlife—and just maybe, that we all get a second chance to bloom.

Janice Wagar is a retired great-grandmother. She shares her life with her partner and three cats. Her happy place is sitting at her computer where she keeps up with her grandkids on Facebook and putters around writing stuff. Check out her blog or email her at cougarclan8@comcast.net.

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31 Responses to MOM AND THE AFTERLIFE OF PLANTS by Janice Wagar

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