jeudi 3 avril 2008

Life is hardier than my neglect can kill off


Chasselas Doré
leaf bud

I thought I killed it for sure. I spent the entire winter worrying and the earliest weeks of the spring fretting by its side. I didn't tell Audouin. He used to remind me of every plant I neglected (in his estimation), but since most of them proved to be just fine, he started to leave me alone. This one never made it in the ground. I knew I wanted it when Victor showed it to me at Florosny last June, a 15 or so year old vine, covered in lush leaves and the beginnings of bunches of fine golden Chasselas doré grapes.

Then I brought it home and set it in one likely location. It grew, and grew, and grew. It curled tendrils around anything in its reach, and I had to pry them off, cutting it back. Finally, I brought it up by the living room door to keep a closer eye on it. That's when the idea came to me to plant it there and let it grow up to cling to the balcony and dangle its fruits over our heads as we go in and out. The wall and balcony stretch the length of the house and face south; what could please it more?

The leaves turned crispy brown and fell. The plant looked terrible.

I waited.

It had buds for a long time. I suspected they were either petrified, killed before they would ever have a chance to open, or -- maybe -- just slower than the other varieties of other newer grape vines I bought at the same time, whose leaves have been opening over the last few weeks, very slowly.

I continued to watch closely, nearly certain that I was seeing changes. It was hard to be sure that I wasn't imagining them -- wishful thinking and all -- but today, I can see the red edges of the furry bud peeling back, revealing the green of the future leaves.

I cannot tell you how relieved I am not to have killed this plant! It's like another gift from the garden. We're still friends!


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