Monday, May 7, 2012
It was the spring after Max died that the citronella plant bloomed for the first time. I didn’t even know citronella plants flowered at all. We’d had this one for four years and never seen the slightest hint of a bloom.
Up until then it hadn’t seemed like an entirely healthy plant. Its sister plant, the one from which it had been split a few years earlier, was growing like crazy. We’d had to stake up the tangle of stems to support the weight of new leaves sprouting almost daily, while its other half seemed to languish where it sat in the bathroom between the bathtub and a wall of windows overlooking the forest. Its woody, twisted stems were barely able to produce new leaves to replace the old ones as they turned yellow and then brown and fell off.
But then, out of nowhere, it flowered. And it kept flowering for about a month, tons of tiny pale pink flowers that made me think of cherry blossoms. I watched it closely, every day looking for new blooms, and I wasn’t disappointed. Their little faces greeted me each morning, wide-eyed and fresh, and full of life.
It was a bit of a mystery why this plant suddenly flowered, and why the other one didn’t but also why everyone I mentioned it to was just as surprised as I was to learn that citronella plants actually flower. No one I knew had seen it before.
So, when the little pink blooms appeared again this year, I immediately thought of Max. I like to think he has something to do with this since it has been two years since he’s been gone and two years now that the plant has flowered.