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A Parable

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There is a plant I bought a short time ago. It is an annual with bright red sunflower-like flowers that I got on special because it is late in the season and the market for such things has pretty much dried up.

But I looked at the plant and thought about the picture window that even in winter gets 5-6 hours of sunlight--and I thought about how drab the house can be in mid-winter even with the silk flowers my wife and I bought over the years to spark things up. It was the day after the Marathon Walk and I wanted some living remembrance of that experience. So, against my better judgement, I bought it and brought it home with me, intending to nurse it through the winter.

Before I left the house last Friday for the weekend I gave all the house plants a good drink, knowing I would not be back until Sunday night. They have all been through worse experiences before--many went without water for two weeks at a time while Jane was in the hospital. But my new plant had not. Still, two days should not be an issue.

But when I got home Sunday it had been. Its leaves were drooping and its beautiful flowers had shriveled. But I am a patron of lost causes, if nothing else. I gave it some water--not so much as to rot the roots, but enough to perk it up. The flowers did not entirely recover, but the bushiness of the leaves told me it would live.

When I got up this morning it was droopy again. So I watered it again and it seems to be getting better. Clearly the thing is potbound and will continue this unacceptable behavior until I do something about its underlying condition. This weekend I will move it up a pot-size which will, I hope, solve part of the problem. Unfortunately, the pot it is in is the perfect size for where the plant now sits. A bigger pot simply creates another set of problems involving the plants around it that also need their share of the limited daylight.

Were this a regular house plant or a non-annual, I would simply divide the plant, but I would still have the real estate problem--and i really only want the one in any event. But I have to do something or the whole plant will die. But if I do what I have in mind, some of the other plants may suffer.

The conundrum is, can I rearrange the plants so everyone is happy? Or does the one have to go for the good of the many? Are there times, as my father would argue, that the good of the one outweighs the good of the many? How do i prevent this one plant from dictating the circumstances of the others? How do I get it to play nice?

Or do I just let nature take its course?



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I know what you mean, I have plants in almost every window. Pauline would tell me that plant is dead, but I would not give up on it. I have a window that she could not see very well. After the plant was back up and running again, her eyes would light up and she would say how did you do that when it was gone. I would say it only looked that way, so it could get the attention it needed. Plants are a lot like, us, when we get sick and worn down we do not look very good either. I know you will find a way to have all the plants, with the same space. Maybe take the plant out of the pot, trim some of the out side roots back, a little layer of nickel size stone in the bottom and fresh good potting soil around and on top, will do the trick.

Good luck

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how did you do that when it was gone. I would say it only looked that way, so it could get the attention it needed.

I liked that.

On another note, Harry, you might consider dividing the plant and giving half to someone else for their window sill...that way you can keep it in the size pot you want and the other plants won't suffer, AND it'll brighten someone else's life!

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Your Parable posted yesterday, allowed me something to ponder over, versus my zeal to have my house in order.......I found myself walking through our yard and sitting on the porch, something I havent done in real a long time.....and thinking of something else vs the raw grief I still battle........as with all parables different meanings, lessons can be gleaned ( is that the proper word?) from it......does it apply to my life and the relationships that I have with family and friends? yes I believe so......does it apply to my recent loss.....oh yeah it does..........does it apply to the recent controversial postings here..........yeah I get it! Thanks for making my mind work in a different way then it has in along time, will keep you posted on my thoughts! Dave p.s. have a feeling that your the kind of teacher we "kids" speak of for yrs!

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