Waxing Lyrical on the Wax Plant
Memento Mummy: The Memory Plant
Well, that's what the Hoya Carnosa means to me,. I only found out its name when a friend posted back an excerpt from a plant book in answer to my query on facebook last year. It always struck me as being the kind of flower a scientist might invent, or something a robot would have in a bouquet if robots got married. A little bit sci-fi, is what I'm saying. But, that's just the first phase before it realizes it can be something quite other & sheds that artificial plastic look for something more like a 1970s paper-&-bamboo lampshade. Evolution on a stalk. The plant in my kitchen, growing out of an artist's jug, came from a cutting my mum took from a Massive Waxplant just inside the lobby entrance to the eye department of King's College Hospital in London 7yrs ago. I'd grown up with her sudden calls to shove some cutting she'd just procured whenever we went on a walk together. Mortifying! There was always a small scene as I tried to prevent her from doing such things, refusing to co-operate and being pressed into doing just that. Even in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Cambridge which was in the same road I lived in for 5 years as a student. She was incorrigible.
The plant is still with me; my mum isn't; it's her last cutting, her last audacious act. It gives me comfort to see it: sweet reminder of those monthly visits to the hospital. Waiting for her appt. often took 5 hours; a shock the first time, but we soon grew to love and appreciate that time together. We'd never had a happy relationship, until the switch, when it appeared I became parent & she my beloved child. Incorrigible. A character. She was the consultant's favourite patient. I miss her. Both she and the plant - unusual, beautiful, a little exotic, yet hardy. I'd worried I should have repotted the cutting several times over, but no, it likes to be pot-bound (just as well!). Also known as: Porcelain Flower; Pentagram Flower (due to 5-points on its wax incarnation), and Hindu Rope Plant; native to Eastern Asia & Australia. It's grown for protection; to confer a net of safety around the home; I could do with believing that. A study at Georgia University showed it effectively removed pollutants in an interior environment. All Good.