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My Mother's Daughter

Every once in awhile, I catch myself doing something that is truly a mannerism of my mom or dad. My parents are admirable people, so that's not as troubling as it could be. Today, I was out shopping, and I happened to do a quick lap through the plant section of the store. There were no other people in the greenhouse, and I imagined myself the only Walmart shopper to be looking for live plants. I passed up the orchids (only $11.96, and blooming profusely), the saggy aloes, and sizeable palms. But one little dried up plant caught my attention. It was marked as a rabbit's foot fern, which was one of the plants that I had looked at online but hadn't ever seen in person. It was darling. Despite the wilted leaves, I could see little furry rhizomes tucked in just above the soil line. There were a few carrot top fronds that looked promising. I had also just read that ferns could lose all their leaves and still regrow from their roots and rhizomes. I picked it up, put it down and walked away....and then came back over.

Two years ago, I would've left that plant there, to die in the plant center of Walmart. I couldn't do it today. I thought of how my mom has been volunteering at the local jail for years, teaching the inmates both knitting and GED prep. I thought about how maybe the people in jail were like that fern to me----full of promise beneath the straggly exterior, needing nourishment from someone willing to spend the time with them. Also, my mom is an avid gardener and has probably rescued plants worse off than this little fern. So, I brought it home. It might be an act of hope. We'll see.

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Emily Gold
Emily Gold
19 mar 2021

That's such a great story, Suzanne! I hope I have a new long time friend, too. They're such sweet little plants.

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What a nice story about the fern rescue. Be prepared for a life-long plant companion. I have a rabbit's foot fern named "Flopsie" that I got in a 4" pot in 1982. 39 years ago! Now she is about as big as a beachball. Some years I bring her into the house for the winter. Last year she was in my bathtub and it turned out there was a frog living in her fronds. He'd ribbit away in the evenings, tiny little froggy squeaks. I called him the "Urban Frog" and fed him meal worms until the fern got moved out to the deck again. I sometimes joke that I have lived longer with that fern than any other living…

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