Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Once upon a twig...

Once upon a time, there was a little twig. I plucked it from its mother bush late in August in 2012. You could say I rescued it because the mother bush was in an industrial area of Rotterdam where it probably wasn't going to survive very long.

The twig came home with me and spent some time bathing in a jar of water. As soon as it'd had a really good soak, I put it in a very small pot with some nice fresh potting soil. It sat there for a while looking a bit miserable and twiggy until one day, I noticed a tiny green bud growing. This made me very excited and I nursed my twig lovingly until it grew three or four small leaves.

But then winter came. Now somewhere in its memory bark my twig knew that it wasn't just a twig, but a proper bush and it had to do what proper bushes did in the winter. It dropped all its leaves and went back to looking like a sad little twig. I put it on a shelf and left it alone for the winter.

Spring came round and I took my twig off the shelf and put it in the window to catch some sun. I watered it and watched it and lo and behold, the leaves started growing again. They sprouted with the  fresh green of youth and looked so vivid, I knew my twig was going to grow into a beautiful bush like this one.

A fully fledged twig that I think is a Hibiscus bush
I watched my twig carefully, and when the weather warmed up some more I put it in a larger pot with some new soil and put it outside with the other pots, where it grew quite happily for a while. But then quite suddenly, all its leaves dropped off again. Worried for the health of my twig, I took it inside yet again and nursed it back to leafhood.


Eventually, I was rewarded when earlier in August, I found this beautiful bud. At first, it was tiny, but I watched it grow, and eventually, I risked putting it outside again.

The weather was warm and sunny, the skies were blue. It was all just perfect to encourage the bud on my twig to develop into a gorgeous delicate flower.

It stayed open like this for several days, but now alas, it seems to be closing again. Maybe it's still a rather young twig and shouldn't be flaunting itself too long just yet. When the colder weather comes, I'll take it inside again; I'll nurture it through the winter and hope that next year, my twig will get some stronger bones and want to mix it with the other bushes in my garden. I hope so. This twig has been loved and cared for, but now it must grow up and stand on its own roots.


  1. What a lovely story that you haven't given up on your twig. Where there's life there's hope and there has certainly been enough life there for it to bloom. Hopefully next year it will be stronger.

  2. Aww, thank you, Anne! I hope it will grow into a lovely strong bush, but even if it follows suit with your rose bush, I will still be happy. There is nothing more precious than seeing a single flower blooming.

  3. Thanks Val. What I got from this is that from the most inauspicious beginnings, something beautiful can grow -- maybe a wonderful book from the germ of an idea. Here's hoping. Hope life is treating you well. I'm so jealous that you get to go to Belgium to shop every weekend! Maybe I could meet you there one day!

  4. With all the love and care your twig is getting, I am sure that you will eventually have a beautiful bush. The plant has already said thank you by producing a flower for you. I like your pots xxx

  5. Brave little twig.

    When a stepdaughter moved to a new house- garden nothing but rubble - I took cuttings of shrubs in my garden and shoved them in a pot. Some survived (most didn't, but then they didn't get the loving care that your twig has) and are now blossoming her her little patch.

  6. Thanks Denise! Yes, there is something slightly allegorical about my twig isn't there? I know it's a slightly silly, childlike story, but it's what my twig inspired. Maybe I'll write a children's story about my twig.

    Fran, thank you too. I hope it will grow, but even if it stays a kind of bonsai bush I won't mind :-) xx

    Jo, either my twig is brave or I'm stubborn. I refuse to let it die. I'll bet if Ros's Mr A had it, it would be a beautiful bush already instead of a twig with one flower :-) You clearly have greener fingers than you let on!

  7. A brilliant tale of stubborn endeavour Val. Well done !

  8. Since you posted your picture of this lovely flower, I have been wondering about the difference between Hibiscus and Lavatera! The Royal Horticultural Society says this on Lavatera and Hibiscus:
    Lavatera can be annuals, biennials, perennials or subshrubs, with long-stalked, palmately lobed leaves and large, funnel-shaped flowers in summer.
    Hibiscus can be deciduous or evergreen shrubs, trees, annuals or perennials, with simple or palmately lobed leaves and large, funnel-shaped flowers over a long flowering season
    Both the same family: Malvaceae
    Just which is this? I may never sleep again! ;)
    Your story is lovely and embematic. Thank you!

  9. Oh Christina! You and me too! I've been poring over descriptions and photos of Hibiscus, Lavatera and Rose Mallow too! Since there are so many variations of each and they all look much the same, I am also at a loss! I have plumped for Hibiscus for one reason only - I like the name. I hope the sleep comes to you soon! Thank you for this wonderfully detailed but perfectly indeterminate information :-)

  10. Hmmmmm, dunno, Carol. It's me twig, see. it's real and it's true…innit! What's a meta for anyways?

  11. With my rather limited knowledge of plants, I'd say it is an hibiscus. But one can't help but wonder why it was in an industrial area?
    I am not sure that Lavatera can have just the one flower, whereas this is entirely possible for Hibiscus. They are notoriously difficult.. i think :-) At least they were when I was trying to grow them. But that might just be me :-)
    Lovely story, Vally! xx

  12. Thanks, Suze! That's fascinating! I hope my twig makes it. It seems a bit reluctant to develop fast, that's for sure :-)

  13. you sound just like me and my bonsai. I can't afford to buy the professional ones, so I have been growing my own for years. My family have a good laugh over me and my 'twigs' but I feel responsible for them, almost as if I gave birth to them (and in a way, I did)

    Digressing, I feel I must apologise for the comment I made about your blood pressure. When I read it again, I realise that was not how I meant to sound. Sorry...

  14. How delightful! I think your twig shows a commendable lust for life, in putting out a flower so early in its existence! I hope it flourishes again next year.

  15. Hi Val .. lovely story ... and a hibiscus at that - they are glorious bushes ..

    Good for you for nurturing it so carefully ..

    Cheers Hilary


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