The survivor

Earlier this week, I went out to water my veranda plants and got a surprise. When I turned to water my laurel, which sits in a rack hooked over the veranda railing, I found nothing but air. Well, air and an empty rack. I probably looked a bit idiotic, standing there with my watering can upraised and staring disbelievingly at the nonexistent plant. It actually took my brain a few seconds to double-check the visual input and conclude that yes indeed, my plant had vanished.

We’d had high winds the previous week, and I’d prepared for them by pulling all of my various hanging pots out of their railing racks to shelter on the veranda floor. All but the laurel, because it’s a woody plant, several years old, and thus quite heavy. It would take a truly phenomenal gust to blow it up and out of the rack.

Apparently, we had a truly phenomenal gust of wind.

I put the watering can down and leaned over the railing, expecting to see a smashed disaster below. We’re three floors up, so I was certain my laurel had met its end. But there was nothing at all on the bricks beneath us. No plant, no plastic pot shards, and thank goodness, no dead pedestrians. (Seriously, I do not want to think about the impact of a heavy pot falling on someone’s head from ten meters up.)

Baffled, I looked further abroad, in the garden area at the base of the building next to ours. Surely the laurel couldn’t be in there, because that would mean it had actually arced through the air and traveled laterally, rather than just dropping straight down. And that would mean a really phenomenal gust of wind.

But there it was, almost invisible between two shrubs. I couldn’t see what shape it was in, but figured there wasn’t much left of it.

I raced down the stairs, climbed over the little garden wall, and picked up my laurel. Incredibly, it was completely intact.

Broken pot 1

Here it is, back on the safety of the veranda. Judging by the broken pot, it must have landed on that corner, allowing the pot and root ball to absorb the impact. Then it rolled upright, leaving the plant itself entirely untouched.

Broken pot 2

As you can see from the closeup, the laurel’s roots have bound up the pot’s soil, which is probably a big reason the whole thing held together. The plant and pot have aged together for six years, and the pot is really showing its time in the strong Portuguese sun. I’ve repeatedly planted replacement annuals on either side of the laurel, but they always die in the unrelenting heat and wind of this location, while the laurel proudly goes on.

So I guess this is a sign. This laurel is a survivor, and no other plant is worthy of sharing its container. I shall reward its valor with a shiny new pot and a dash of fertilizer — and from now on, I’m taking it down when the winds blow.


About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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13 Responses to The survivor

  1. Hick Crone says:

    I am glad your plant survived its adventure. Is this a laurel from which you can harvest “bay leaves?” My cursory research indicates a zillion plants called laurel but not all seem to yield the leaf spice.

    • oregon expat says:

      Yes, it is. In fact, I recently used leaves from it in a big pot of soup, and it was yummy. My veranda is also home to thyme, rosemary and lavender, all great plants for surviving the summer heat.

  2. Emdeavor says:

    Now I know why ancient Olympic winners wore crowns of leaves. I wonder if they were laurel leaves, because that is a real victor!

  3. Lisa Shaw says:

    This plant appears to be the very definition of “hardy perennial.” 😉

  4. Ana_ñ says:

    Your adventurous laurel was very, very lucky, and so were you, as no persons or animals were harmed in the making of this intrepid flight. Congratulations on the happy end!

  5. Alma says:

    What a beautiful little story! 🙂

  6. Jorge says:

    Your laurel may have just sprung a pair of disposable wings and gone for a little promenade around the neighbourhood, having just made a mistake on its landing site. Laurels are known for doing that.

    (there’s a story here, somewhere)

    Or maybe there were indeed some windy winds. After all, we had yet another tornado in the area. This one was shot off Ponta da Piedade, in Lagos.

    (sorry it’s a link to a facebook page – I hope it’s reachable)

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