Honesty is growing up so fast, true leaves peeking out from between the bases of its seed leaves. Tiny little hairs on the leaves, catching the light to give a slight halo effect. Although my Mum, Grannie and Aunty have grown honesty all my life, I’ve never actually paid much attention to the leaves, so I can’t quite picture what they will be like. I’ve actually only really paid attention to the beautiful seedpods, which are still magic to me, but seem different now that I have this relationship with living plantlets. Actually from where I’m sitting right now I can see the vase arrangement of seedpods from which I gathered the seeds for the living seedlings on my table. It is strange and wondrous to think that these two things are so intimately connected, yet look completely different from each other. Like imagining my three-month old nephew as an old man, he his so 100 percent himself right now, in his embodied baby form, I can’t really truly believe he will ever be different. Likewise honesty fronds are soooo green, so good at being green and tender, and at trembling (it was pointed out to me on the weekend that they tremble when I hold them, amplifying my otherwise mostly imperceptible internal tremor) – how could there possibly be any connection with these brown, papery translucent, static forms in the vase on my bookshelf?

And yet, I know that the wisdom for creating these forms is already present in the very tissues of my small, fragile fronds. If I am a good enough frond to them hopefully they will be able to fulfil their genetic destiny and add their own flock of papery moons to the world.

Someone on the weekend asked me what my plans are for the fronds’ future. I was ashamed to admit I hadn’t thought in detail that far ahead. I think I had idyllic visions of eventually planting them out in my garden to live their own, more independent lives. But the minus five degree frost yesterday morning brought my naivety about winter here (my first in a long time, and first as a gardener) crashing back to earth. I’m thinking purslane, with its shallow roots, may not enjoy being transplanted, but could possibly live to maturity in this very pot. As for honesty, if I can carefully remove them without disturbing purslane too much (and who knows the extent of their roots down below) I may be able to beg some space in my Dad’s greenhouse. They may also be growing too close together to be successfully separated, but I couldn’t bring myself to choose between them. How do you choose between the things you love?

Meanwhile, I was a slack human-frond yesterday and accidentally left the fronds at home! Rushing on a frozen morning, all the various things to carry, and I left them forlornly on the kitchen bench, no access to sun. My guilt was compounded when my new study companion Sophie showed she had taken the needs of the fronds into consideration when she chose our spot to work in the library. Also I feel this growing responsibility since various friends have been responding to this project, and voicing emotional affection for the fronds. Unlike the pitcher plant I bought early this year which quietly died within weeks (don’t tell them I’m a plant-killer!), I feel accountable for my actions, whether they be of care and love, or forgetfulness and neglect. The green-ness of my thumbs are on public display.




2 thoughts on “Budding

  1. A fascinating exploration of micro-co-existence… perhaps if we all were to spend a little more time appreciating nature and the deep connection we all have with (whether we acknowledge it or not!) the natural world we may both better understand ourselves and each other… and perhaps… perhaps… have more love and care for ‘our’ planet. I love this unusual art form! Go well!


    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment Stefan. Micro-coexistence! I like that term. I think we co-exist on the micro scale on a multitude of ways we’re not aware of- our gut bacteria for example, and our mitochondria, of which evidence is mounting of their bacterial origins. I am certainly learning that my reserves of care are deeper and more powerful than I imagined.


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