An unnamed, unknown piece of green smuggled by my mother from my sister’s garden in Atlanta in her suitcase is later broken off from its resting place in a pot in her garden in Johannesburg and finds a place in my garden in Cape Town in a hanging basket. For over 10 years it does nothing but add more and more pieces of green to the original stock – pretty pieces I have to admit, pieces in the form of a mass of rubbery arms and fingers.
No one knows if it has a flower, no one can remember seeing one, not sister, not mother. I ask.
I feed it worm juice like I do all my plants and hope.
And then – surprise, surprise – in the last few weeks here and there in the interstices of the fingers, some pineappley growths erupt like warts – maybe buds? Every day I check the growth streaming from those growths and when it gets all silky and purple-red, I know I am in for something big.
Tonight the first flower opened. A multi-coloured firework display, a ball of delicate petals in dark red, pink and white, pinned in the centre by a boss of yellow stamens, a floral sneeze.