THE GERANIUM PROJECT

This is my geranium today. I have looked after this plant for 14  years. It has looked better, and it has looked worse. It has always been loved, if not always appreciated.

My Geranium today
My Geranium today

My daughter gave this geranium to me when she was in 2nd grade. Each year at Mother’s Day her grammar school would have a plant sale and the children were encouraged to purchase a plant for their mommys for Mother’s Day. One year I got a yellow gerber daisy. It and I did not have a long relationship. Then the next fateful year, she gave me my geranium.

Until this geranium came into my life, I was no great lover of geraniums. I’m still not, but I have learned to appreciate them for what they are.  Too common, I thought, too splashy, too easy. I was a plant snob, on the hunt for the rare, the unique, the unattenable. But then this geranium was gifted to me. And, like a white elephant, I was honor bound to love it, nourish it and keep it alive! It has had several near death experiences. Once or twice (or more) I left it alone when we went on vacation. Upon our return there would be a shriveled brown stump with a leaf or two hanging on literally for dear life where once there had been a happy, thriving plant. Each time emergency administrations of water and fresh soil and profound, profuse – spoken aloud  – apologies always brought the geranium back to life.

My Geranium in her winter position
My Geranium in her winter position

It was after one of these experiences when the plant just did not die that I began to look at her differently. Perhaps she wasn’t common, splashy, or easy. Perhaps she was rare and unique. She was unique in my life being the only geranium I had ever owned. And her behavoir was certainly rare. She never complained, she suffered semi-constant abuse at my hands, but she always came back for more. Given just  the barest modicum of TLC and she would bloom and grow and be so beautiful even calloused workmen who saw her in my kitchen commented on how beautiful she was. Who could ask for a better companion! I wanted others to experience the joy of owning such a plant. The Geranium Project was born.

The Geranium Project is the name I gave to my efforts to propagate and distribute my geranium. Five years ago I began to propagate my geranium. From a small cutting I grow them into plants and give them away. I have given away so many geraniums that I can not remember everyone I have given one to.  I am often delighted when someone mentions that the geranium I gave them is alive and well and giving joy.

Geranium cuttings potted up
Geranium cuttings potted up

Today is a first for The Geranium Project. A friend of mine asked me to make 25 cuttings so she could distribute them at a workshop she is giving. I was touched and thrilled to think that 25 more people will have the pleasure of having this geranium in their lives.  I hope it gives them as much joy as it has given me.  The timing of this request gives me special pleasure because this is Mother’s Day weekend, the same weekend that my daughter first gave me my geranium so many years ago.

Cuttings on their way out into the world
Cuttings on their way out into the world

To celebrate these events I would like to offer a geranium cutting to any reader who would like one. If you would like to participate in The Geranium Project by receiving and nurturing a geranium of your own (and perhaps one day of propagating them and spreading the joy), please tell me and I will send you a cutting.

Happy Mother’s Day.  We can all be mothers of something, even if it is a geranium.

The second grader, all grown-up, with my geranium
The second grader, all grown-up, with my geranium