Protecting things

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I have a unique flower that will soon bloom. I have owned this plant for many years and it’s the sort of plant that couldn’t stand even one day of freezing weather. That means it spends most of its life in my laundry room languishing sadly for months and months. It has bloomed a few times but many summers go by without any flowers at all. I bought the cutting at the wonderful plant fair of the Montreal Botanical Gardens and I remember being scandalized at paying eight dollars for what looked like an ordinary length of sugar cane. My hope and ambition to own this exotic plant overcame good sense and for weeks I watched nothing happen to “my stick” as it sulked in a pot of sand. I was with another fanatical gardener that day who also bought a cutting and we were given strict instructions to be patient and to believe….evangelical gardening. My plant looks terrible in the winter. All the leaves fall off and I wonder how it can survive. It does and as you can see buds are ready to open.

Little birds, flocks of sparrows have taken to attacking my grapes lately and to my horror I found that two flower buds had been nipped off as well. I remembered a funny item I boughht on my last trip to Mexico. It’s a sort of net weighted down with miniature clay jugs around the edge. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted it. It was just like the little protectors we had when I was a little girl in Wales. My mother would arrange such a little veils over the milk jug or the sugar basin to stop flies getting in. Ours just had beads around the edge. An unlikely item to have hanging about but because of my nostalgia I just happened to have one. I’m pretty sure the rest of the buds are safe now. Sun can still come in but they’d better hurry up as the days are getting shorter. School has started up and leaves are yellowing and starting to fall.

Everything changes and slips away. Is it foolish to hope that the frangipani plant will bloom this year? Is it foolish to try to protect the buds that are still twisted closed? Will they unfurl into the flat white flower with the golden heart at the centre and the maddeningly sweet perfume? Let the good weather hold a little longer and we will see.

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