The Wrong Lilies

The Wrong Lilies

Friday, November 18, 2011

There are berries on the possum haw

This is the message I gave my son when he answered our cell phone, as he and his dad were on the way to the home improvement store.  His response:  “The pelican crows at dawn.”  As you see, he thought I was joking and came right back with nonsense.  That’s our boy.     But he did pass the message on to his dad, who was driving and his dad explained that this was not only wonderful news, it was no joke to us.

Possum haw, for the uninitiated, is a Texas native holly, deciduous, which produces glorious red berries in the fall.  Where the name came from is anyone’s guess; it is as unique as the plant.   If, of course, the plant is a female, it bears berries; if it is a male holly, no berries.  We planted the shrub in the spring of last year, and last fall it produced no berries, nor did we detect any blooms during this last summer.  So we came to the conclusion that we had a male holly, and while it would be a lovely shrub, it would be berry-less.  Until today, when I was raking the first crop of leaves of the season, and a shaft of sunlight reached over our house and lit up the possum haw at the moment I glanced up, and there those lovely berries were. 

So all our fretting and sending strong thoughts of encouragement toward the possum haw paid off, as well as the careful watering we gave it during this interminable period of drought. 

We all, gardeners or not, have situations where there is something we hope for very much, and which we despair of happening.  And in the scheme of the world’s problems, a tiny frustration about a small plant is irrelevant.  But in the small personal world we each experience on our own, it is the small despairs we must deal with every day, and it is the small joys that light up our lives like the sunlight lit up our possum haw.

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