Coleus Comeback

It’s been a weird year for everything (understatement of the century), so not surprisingly my garden has been disappointing. The cherry tomato seedlings I bought looked spindly, and they pretty much lived up — or down — to their appearance, but they have produced a modest crop of cherries. Thanks to gardeners far more competent than I, I’ve been able to indulge my penchant for cherry tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with kosher salt, and slow-cooked at about 200°F for a couple hours.

More disappointing was the non-performance of my basil. The seeds for my first planting were old and did not sprout. The second planting did better but didn’t get started till the very end of June so not much came of that either. Only one of the seedlings I bought really thrived, and that one wouldn’t yield enough to make even one batch of pesto, so I lost interest.

My two coleus plants, on the other hand, did wonderfully. I love coleus, the way it catches the light at different times of day out on my deck railing.

Both of them looked pretty much like this.

Then, in the high winds of early September, one of them blew off the deck railing. This has happened before. Plants have survived the two-story drop with a few missing leaves but basically OK.

Not this time. It landed on the wooden steps. The fall smashed the clay pot and severed all major stems from their roots.

Hard not to see it as some kind of omen, right?

Well, I put the broken stems in the compost, planted the root, minus its glorious foliage, in a bigger pot, added soil and water, and kept an eye out.

A very few days later, the truncated stem had sprouted a few leaves.

September 11

A few days after that, it was still growing.

September 15

And it’s still at it.

September 26

Now I’m not going to attach any cosmic meaning to this, tempted though I am with the most important election of my lifetime coming up, but any time a living thing shows this much resilience and ability to come back from the almost dead, I’m going to take heed.

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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4 Responses to Coleus Comeback

  1. Jennie says:

    There must be a meaning. I love it!


  2. I’m taking it as a sign.


  3. alex palmer says:

    Thanks for the ray of hope. In the coleus we trust.


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