Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Curly Willow

5 years ago, on the day I graduated from Berkeley, my then boyfriend’s lovely parents had a lovely graduation party for me at their lovely house. It was lovely, by the way. On that day, my dad, being…well… him, found himself out in their garden investigating all of their lovely plants. My dad was quite the plant the enthusiast… and not especially keen on mingling with… well… anyone. (He was interesting like that.) The garden was good spot for him.

Anyway, while out in the garden, my dad discovered my boyfriend’s parents’ curly willow tree. He was instantly a big fan. And so he asked if he could take a cutting home with him - all the way back to Los Angeles. Who does this? My dad.

Somehow the tiny little cutting survived the 6 hour drive back to Los Angeles… wrapped only in a wet paper towel. When he got home, my dad planted the cutting in his own garden and, to be honest, I never really thought much about it again… that is, until we had to clean out his/our/that house.

Tucked way in the back, behind the tomatoes, and overgrown kale plants, and random shrubs and succulents (my dad loved succulents), I found my little curly willow tree. All grown up – strong, thriving, beautiful. I stopped short when I saw it… it took a moment to recognize what it was… and then I cried. And then I decided that I had to have it. We put it in a pot and dragged it out of the garden. And I put my sister in charge of caring for it through the summer until I could come back for it.

It was hot in LA last summer. And watering can be such a trying chore. And my sister can be a lazy good for nothing forgetful. And so, when I went back for my plant over Christmas, it was little more than some long tangled sticks with a few leaves here and there. Enter not-so-pleased Courtney.

Anyway, we watered my thirsty plant, and cut it WAY back, and decided that, with my gentle nurturing, it would be fine. And then we loaded it into my rented pick-up and it made the long journey back to the Bay Area.

And then we had that whole frost thing in California. You know, the thing that killed all the oranges and avocados (grrrrr). The thing that my darling curly willow plant was not so much a fan of.

I woke up the first morning and found it surrounded by ice. The next morning all the leaves fell off. I probably should have dragged it indoors, but it’s not a small (or lightweight) pot, and I’m not exactly smart when it comes to not killing plants. And so it’s been sitting, a dead bunch of brown sticks, since just after the new year. I’ve been so sad. Too sad to even throw it away. I figured I would eventually plant some flowers in the pot and keep it as a nice memento. In the mean time, I just left it. Every morning I would walk by it, and I would feel like such a failure.


And then a few weeks ago, mostly out of sheer desperation, I watered it. Silly to water a dead plant, I know… but some lovely clover had taken up residence in the pot around my dead curly willow, and I thought the least I could do was try to keep the clover alive.

Three days ago, I found this:

My curly willow! It’s alive. Tenacious little plant. :)

Happy Spring, Everyone.

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