My grandparents loved plants.
They were farmers, after all, but my grandpa always wanted to be a horticulturist. He raised dairy cows to make a living, but the farmhouse was always full of pots of aloe, bright-blooming geraniums, blooming cacti and cascading ferns.
There are a couple of plants I remember distinctly including an asparagus fern, a spindly and overgrown explosion of lime green that, up close, looked like pine needles. It was always behind a blue recliner chair on the porch.
When both my grandparents passed away, the house went quiet for a while. One by one, we rescued some of the plants.
But the asparagus fern was forgotten, and one hot summer day, we opened up the house and the remaining plants had died. The asparagus fern was a sandy brown, its skeleton of pine needles crumbling to the floor.
I felt awful.
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The pot was about 24 inches in diameter, and I picked it up and brought it outside. I don't know why I thought I could save it. It didn't look like there was anything to save. But I got out the hose and doused it with water. I brought it home.
It wasn't dead. Not completely. One, tiny, sprig of green appeared at the base, just one in this giant pot.
Over the last several years through graduate school and new jobs, I have lugged that plant from place to place, and now it is back to its former glory. It's a wild and tangled mess of green hair.
On Thursday I went to water my fern, and there I saw something new — tiny, white, bulbous blossoms that I had never seen before.
Apparently asparagus ferns, if they're female, do flower sometimes. I'm so glad I did not give up on it.
— Gwendolyn Craig