The death of passion

Over the years many friends have given me plants. I probably have 9 or 10 houseplants at this very moment which I received as gifts. For the most part, these plants do well, although I’ve learned that like the peplum in fashion, jade plants and I are never going to be friends.

That’s ok. There are plenty of other options – in fashion and foliage.

I do have one plant, though, that I’ve been struggling with for a number of years. It’s a passion flower and, if I remember correctly because it’s been so long, its blossoms are purple. It really has been that long since I’ve seen it bloom.

In fact, I think it’s only produced a single flower in all the time I’ve hosted this plant in my home.

According to season and whim, I move my plants around the house, often with a sojourn to the back deck for summer. My passion flower has been happy outdoors but kind of wilts indoors, never really thriving.

That being said, there have been occasions when the plant has produced buds filled with promise. I’ve eyed the buds with excitement, which has morphed into disappointment as the green pods fell, unopened, to the oak floor.

The inability of my plant to successfully nurture the growth of a flower into its full glory, amusingly enough, has become a bit of a metaphor for my romantic life. Funny, right?

Sometimes I subscribe mystical powers to weird things, like this plant, for instance. I honestly have begun to believe that the state of this plant is some botanical indicator of the state of my romantic life.

If the leaves glowed green with good health (and chlorophyll), I took that as a good omen. When the plant began to wind its way about its wrought iron stand, I was encouraged by the thought that development may not always be linear and that seeking the sun results in growth.

On the occasions that my passion plant budded, I alternated between neglecting it and nurturing it. Regardless of my level of attention, sadly, the embryonic flower failed to unfurl and reach its potential. Kind of like my romances.

Something happened recently to this plant that could inspire disappointment, if I indulged that kind of negativity. I noticed that the soil level was a little low and added a couple of scoops of potting soil to the pot, pleased with my observation and follow through. The next day, I even remembered to add a little water to the plant as I checked on my indoor garden in my usual well intentioned, but lackadaisical, way.

By the end of the week, instead of looking appreciative of my care, the plant looked sickly. The leaves were curling and drying up. When I touched the plant, they rained down leaving behind bare stalks of brown. 

Time for drastic measures.

I grabbed my all purpose scissors and cut my passion flower back to the smallest of stalks, removing all of the parts that were dead.  It felt kind of drastic, but it seemed obvious that keeping something alive isn’t always possible. Maybe sometimes the only option is to strip away all that’s unhealthy and simply yield to the universe. 

You know me – I’ll keep you posted on the status of my passion flower. For now, I’ll continue to monitor the single tiny leaf my plant is wearing and find comfort in the wisdom of Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Adopt the pace of Nature: her secret is patience.

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