Back in March, my sweet friend and neighbor Mary Ellen, gifted me this beautiful bromeliad for my birthday. I think that she showed a lot of faith, since until only a short year before, I had killed every. single. plant. that had entered my realm. For decades.
Of all the really bad things that came with COVID, growing a green thumb is one of the good things that happened to me during that time. As I have posted before, my sister Tammy called me one afternoon to request that I go to her home in Beaumont (one hour away) to rescue her abandoned potted plants. She had moved a couple of weeks before and the moving van had run out of space before she could load the plants.
I was alone, living in our beach house, waiting for my husband Mack to return from Seoul, South Korea, where he had been “stuck” since the beginning of the COVID crisis. I couldn’t get over there and he couldn’t get over here…but it all worked out in the end.
Over the course of the next few months, while my sister waited for her house to sell, every week or so, I would stop by on my way to the grocery store or fabric store to dig up elephant ears and monkey grass from her lush backyard. If you’re not from deep east Texas, you probably don’t know that the weather here is kinda like that in a rain forest. Wet, damp, humid…lush. My sister wasn’t there to water her plants, but it didn’t matter. Mother Nature was doing it for her.
I bought cheap pots and expensive pots. I repurposed galvanized tubs that I found in the garage. I fell in love with my morning coffee and devotional amongst the rain forest on my front deck.
Anyhow, Mary Ellen brought me this beautiful bromeliad for my b-day. An addition to the multiple plants on my deck (which, by March, I had kept alive for 7 months – an all-time record), it took a place of honor on our little bistro table.
Again, for 65 years, I had been Public Enemy #1 to plants. But, something in the atmosphere had shifted. Probably the fact that I was home, not traveling, not visiting with friends, not shopping or working, etc. for the first time ever. It became my life’s work to keep these plants alive and thriving.
So, my deck is now a beautiful, tropical paradise (if I do say so myself) On the rare occasion that we travel to see the kids, I hire a dear friend to come and babysit the plants. Why didn’t I think of that before?
So, here is a picture of the deck today. Opposed to a picture of the deck BP (before plants). Amazing transformation.
I had never before owned a bromeliad. Of course, I have seen them. Admired them. Wanted one. But, I knew better. I knew that it was not fair for me to take the life of a beautiful tropical. But, again, Mary Ellen showed great faith.
I read up on the care and feeding of bromeliads. I pampered it and loved on it. And, then I kinda forgot about it; leaving her to thrive on the deck with my other adopted plants. And, not only did she thrive, she reproduced!
Her first set of twins appeared back in June. After carefully researching the procedure, I delivered the twins from their mother and transplanted them into separate little terra cotta pots. One, I took to my dear friend Linda, as a hostess gift for our very first indoor dinner party (post vaccination of all four of us). The other, I kept for myself.
I had been told (on the internet) that, once Momma Bromeliad gave birth, that she would probably fade into glory. Well, she looked a mess, but I couldn’t bring myself to chunk her into the compost heap. Most likely because I too looked a mess after giving birth:) So, I hung on to her and pampered and petted her and she rewarded me with another set of twins.
Yesterday, I delivered the new set of twins from Momma’s side and planted them in this cute wooden crate. Again, I am helping Momma postpartum, and hoping that she rallies again. While I would love another set of twins, I would be plenty happy if Momma just grew strong herself and spent the remainder of her life with me on the deck. She looks tired and haggard…but then again, so do I.
I had planned the plant separation for a while, so I had all of my materials and equipment at the ready. But, Mack came up with the idea of an impromptu trip across country to visit all of our kids, and frankly, I just ran out of time. But, as soon as we got back (yesterday) I completed the move. (Before I left, I cut a few sprigs off of an ivy that I rescued from my sister’s house and stuck them in water to sprout…perfect!)
So, here is my beautiful, free (except for the $13.00 container) new plant. I love it.
Mostly, I love the fact that Mother Nature provided this beautiful opportunity. Somehow, I relate to Momma Bromeliad. “Keep on keeping on,” is what my Daddy always said to me. And, somebody, somewhere, is saying it to M. B. as well.