Hurray for a plant that never gives up

Virtues are not confined to humans, I have discovered. In fact, I can think of one blue daze plant, in particular, which deserves mention in a virtue hall of fame.

It was growing for over a year in a small clay pot by the front doorstep, and had distinguished itself by always being in bloom. Every day, it generously offered a host of sky-blue blossoms, never slowing its pace of blossom production even in the face of dispiriting drought, ferocious sun, or gale-force rain.

I honored this spirit by watering the plant as needed, but otherwise I did not pamper it.

As the months wore on, I noticed the branches of the blue daze plant began to take on a silver tone, and the leaves never opened completely, but remained small and folded. Even the blossoms - although there was no lessening of the quantity - took on a pinched and half-closed appearance.

Not being sure what eIse to do, I increased my watering, but noticed no significant change in the plant's appearance.

Soon, the leaves almost completely disappeared, and there were only silver stems and numerous little blossoms.

I continued to water faithfully, but knew that the plant was root-bound. Repotting it was a project low on my to-list, however. More important tasks, such as work, house maintenance projects, and the installation of a showy new butterfly garden took precedence.

Even so, each morning I would walk out the front door to be greeted by an exuberance of blue flowers covering spindly, leafless twigs.

Finally, one afternoon, while I was transplanting macho ferns and exotic pineapples into new places in the front yard, my eye lighted on the humble blue daze. With spade already out, I could quickly relocate it.

Upon loosening it from its pot, I realized that this plant had absolutely no soil in which to grow. The pot held nothing but roots that curved around and through each other and attempted to penetrate their porous clay confines.

Feeling a big twinge of guilt, I found the plant a home in the butterfly garden. Here, there was no shortage of soil. I dug a huge hole in the loam, filled it with water, and tucked the brittle plant in.

Two months later, there has been no interruption in bloom. The stress of transplanting has caused no lack of new bud production.

What's new is that small green leaves are stretching themselves joyfully out from the stems. And the little plant with the big fortitude continues to do what it always has done: bloom mightily.

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