An Aspidistra [blooms] in Bethesda

When I was still living with my parents I used to live for Sunday nights when I could settle in front of the TV and watch Masterpiece Theatre with Alistair Cooke on Channel 11, our local PBS station. One of the mini-series’ I remember watching was Country Matters, a dramatization of stories by H. E. Bates. The one dramatization I remembered most of all was An Aspidistra in Babylon. Actually I really only remembered the title and because of that I wanted an aspidistra, or cast iron plant, of my own.

I found one, years ago, at a yard sale in Savannah, Georgia. I bought it and foolishly planted it in the yard. The person having the sale said it would do well in our yard, but perhaps she didn’t understand we were from a state quite a bit north of hers.

For my birthday this year Andrew and Alex gave me an aspidistra after hearing me mourn the fact that I’ve never found one. It’s spindly and only has two leaves, but it seems to be thriving.

Before we left for our trip to Southern California for Christmas I noticed a new green bump near the soil and was overjoyed, thinking I was getting a new leaf. I’ve checked it regularly — usually when I water it (rarely because it hates wet feet) — and there never seemed to be any change. Yesterday was watering day and I noticed that it had developed some markings, not unlike a demogorgon with a closed mouth.

Today I took another look. The demogorgon’s mouth opened! It wasn’t a new leaf after all, it was a flower!

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