Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lesson learned

Last year I added a bleeding heart clerodendrum, also known as the glory bower vine, to my garden. I enjoyed that vine quite a lot. It bloomed for me all summer and into the fall.

My bleeding heart clerodendrum late last September.

Then the frosts came and the plant died.

This spring, after the last frost, I cut the vine back but didn't rip it out, in hopes that it might still come back.

Weeks went by and nothing happened. The brown stubs of my former vine were all that was left of its former glory. When I thought of it as I walked past the bed where it had lived, I would tug on those stubs. I knew from long experience that if the roots were truly dead, the plant would come up with a firm tug. But there was still resistance to my tugs and so I let the former plant be.

More weeks passed.

A few days ago, as I was thinking about what I needed to do in my garden, it occurred to me that I had given that dead plant enough leeway. It was the middle of May already and, obviously, it wasn't coming back. So today, I grabbed my shovel and headed around to the bed to dig the vine out and prepare to plant something else there. As I approached the bed, this is what I saw:

After sleeping for five long months, the clerodendrum has awakened and is sending up new shoots.

I took my shovel back to the shed and went to get my camera to record the blessed event of the plant's rebirth. I don't know whether the plant will actually grow big enough to give me any of its pretty blooms this year, but it's alive and I'll give it time and space to grow.

I guess the moral to the story is that we should never, ever, ever, EVER give up. As long as the roots are firm, a miracle is always possible.


  1. I've never seen this, I wonder if it is hardy in zone 4. We gardeners need to learn patience :)

  2. It's actually a tropical plant, Bonnie, that is guaranteed hardy only to 30 degrees F. Our temperatures got down into the teens on more than one occasion during last winter, but the plant was in a protected area and, as you can see, even though it had a very long sleep, it did survive. Not for zone 4 though, I'm afraid.

  3. Nature does have a way of making us want to shout, Snap!