(this photo was taken through the lens of a bottle that holds precious new roots)
Recently I lost a plant that I had a deeply personal relationship with for thirteen years. The grief I experienced felt overwhelming because it took three months for this plant to die and I did everything I could to save her.
Last year I had given my friend Iren the “mother” of my dead passionflower plant as a gift, never imagining that her daughter would be dead a year later. When my friend gave me cuttings from the mother plant, I hovered over them like an anxious and somewhat frantic mother for weeks, bringing them into our bedroom at night to sleep with my dogs, bird, and me.
I had learned that propagating this plant through cuttings seemed impossible for others, although I seemed to be able to root them myself. Eventually, after rooting at least 50 plants for people over a period of about ten years, I reached the conclusion that my emotional connection to this plant must be the key to my ability to propagate them because no one else I knew was able to do so.
Every morning I peered into the bottle of cuttings anxiously, fearing that my emotional relationship to the passionflower had been severed permanently by the untimely death of the plant I had lost, which by the way, mirrored what had happened to me in my own life in an uncanny way.
A few days ago a solitary bud appeared on one of the cuttings. Although I knew from experience that this bud wouldn’t bloom it indicated that some growth was occurring. Another cutting sprouted a normal leaf, again suggesting something positive was happening…But where were the roots?
And then yesterday morning as I placed the bottle of cuttings in the early morning sun I saw them. Roots! Only one cutting has sprouted an abundance of those precious white filaments, another has a couple of submerged buds. I feel fierce hope brimming… I am frankly overjoyed to be sharing the same space with young rooting passionflowers. And perhaps this passionflower event heralds something similar about finding new roots for me?