Be-Bop-a-Lula!

http://octaviao.tumblr.com/I remembered Be-bop this week when my guy and I bought a new plant for our living room.

We wanted someone, er, thing, with personality and spirit, with a touch of unexpected color and a tad of attitude. In other words, we wanted another Be-bop-a-lula.

plants in the home

23-year-old Benji.

We name our plants. Every single one. Do you?

Our plants tend to live for a long long time. Benji, our Ficus, lived for 25 years. The only reason he died was because we put him in the care of a stranger for a year. He was gone in six months. My guess is that his caretaker never called him by name, stroked his leaves, or sang him a sunny song every morning.

Call me strange (and yes, many do), but plants are people too. Well, not people, but they respond to light and love, to sound and sustenance, to kindness and care.

And our plants love their names.

That’s why it’s important to pick just the right name for the right plant.

plant, home plantsBe-pop was the first plant my guy and I bought together. She was frilly and funny, too-big for her britches (or most windows) and tended to take over a room. But we still brought her home, hanging her in a large (soon to be little girl’s) bedroom with an enormous window that overlooked the San Francisco Bay and Angel Island.

“Okay, what’s her name?” my guy asked.

My first response was “Angel,” but we both simultaneously shook our heads no. This plant was no angel.

“I got it!” my guy said. “Be-bop-a-lula!”

Say WHAT? I’d never heard of the name nor, it turns out, the song.

So, in a lilting (though not melodious) voice my guy sang to me and our new plant:

Of course! The tune is lilting and fun, bouncy and bubbly. The melody, and the name, fit our new Be-bop perfectly.

For over 10 years Be-bop looked over us, the Bay, and our daughter, who grew under Be-bop’s care and tutelage. Not until our little girl became a bouncy, frilly, funny teenager, did Be-pop start aging, losing her leaves, turning green to yellow. The family mourned when she was finally gone.

Oh, ahem, didn’t mean to fertilize sentimentality here. A plant is only a ….plant. Right?

house plants

Name this plant!

So, here’s our new baby. She’s likely to grow at least six feet tall. We’ve got the room for her, the perfect defused sunlight, a watering can near her side, and the classical music station humming nearby.

We just don’t have a name.

Any suggestions?

 

108 thoughts on “Be-Bop-a-Lula!

  1. I love that you name your plants. I have had some wonderful plants that lived for many years and came with us everywhere we lived. My favourite was a Hawaiian Lily my son gave me for mother’s day when he was about ten or eleven. It was scrawny with brown tips and I didn’t have much hope for it, but it flourished and lived for about 25 years. We had to give it away when we moved to Spain. I hope it is still doing well. I have a friend who names her cars. I name my kids, my pets and my books. That is all I can handle!! Your new plant looks lovely and healthy.

  2. Yes, I name our plants, Pam. In fact, I name everything. My new elliptical has been named, Elmer.
    I have a plant that was given to my mother when her mother passed away, almost thirty years ago. She’s the “Mamaw” plant. As for your new baby, although she looks sharp, I’d name her Willow.

    • I love that you name everything – even your elliptical, which made me laugh out loud, I must admit. 🙂

      Your story of your long-lived Mamaw plant is amazing.

      Willow is a gorgeous choice of a name for our new spiky plant (don’t tell anyone, but Spike is too sharp a name for this loving creation). Your idea is on the top five of our list!

    • I may know the reason that the name “Florence” popped in your head for our plant’s name, Arlene…!!! Just about the time you posted your comment, I was reading a blog post about Britt S’s visit to …. Florence. I happen to adore that city and was thinking, hmmmm, what a flowery floral name.
      On the top five of our list now, thanks to you…

    • You have spoken to my heart, David! What a fabulous article on trees/plants and a great link to the book entitled The Hidden Life of Trees. I’m going to have to get that book for my house. Maybe I’ll read a chapter each night to our new plant. And Herman Hesse’s pronouncement that plants are “the most penetrating of preachers.” Be still my heart. THANK YOU! ❤

  3. This is genius, naming plants. I love plants and never once thought of giving them names. When I get a cutting of Grandma’s fern from my sister, I’ll name her “Fannie,” of course.

    I love the idea, the video (which reminded me of the name Garrison Keillor’s radio show give to his rhubarb pie) and the challenge here in this post.

    Nothing comes to mind except “Arrow,” which doesn’t quite fit. I’ll be back when I think of something better. 🙂

    • Hmm, Arrow. Isn’t it fun how our mind works? But I can see Arrow, because of the way the stalks all point to something….
      Best of luck to you with your cutting of “Fannie.” May she live long and prosper.

  4. What a charming idea to name your plants. We don’t have any indoor plants but I wonder if we shouldn’t start naming the ones in our garden. We have a mighty magnolia tree, at least a hundred years old, but I hesitate to give her a name as I’m sure she knows her name and will be vexed if I call her the wrong one.

  5. I love this post, Pam! We don’t name our plants because we don’t have any. Our cats would eat them, and though I love looking at plants, I am not good with them at all.
    We do tend to name everything though, and our daughters did, too. They could turn anything into toys–the seashell family, the chopsticks family, etc. 🙂
    I don’t have a suggestion for a name, but I would NOT suggest “Audrey.” (You will get this if you’ve seen Little Shop of Horrors.) 🙂

  6. I loved this post! Naming your plants is such a great idea! I name my car (Ingrid), but I never thought about naming my plants. Your plant reminds me of long hair, so my vote is for one of two names: Isis, the Egyptian goddess with famously long hair, or Fraggle, because Fraggles have the greatest hair.

    • Lulu is a lovely name. And since there’s no more Be-bop-a-lula in our home, it’s a serious consideration. I’d love to know where the name Freya came from. Perhaps one of your houseplants whispered this name in your ear….

      • I’m glad to hear Lulu is in the running. I’m not sure where Freya came from. I don’t know anybody by that name. I think I may have heard it on a TV show or a documentary somewhere. It just popped into my head. 🙂

  7. I’m going with Frisky. I don’t know why – it’s just the first word that came to my mind when I saw your new addition 😉 Being surrounded by water, foliage, and wildlife is both calming and reassuring to my senses and emotional well-being. In my eyes, it’s a perfect example of another mutually beneficial relationship between living things on this planet.

    • I’ll admit, I’m jealous of your location, Dave. I have the wildlife and the foliage (and the wild turkey around here even love eating our TAME foliage), but no water near by. You also have the scent of warmth and sea near you, I bet. Ahhhh.
      As far as the name Frisky, she’s smiling a bit at your suggestion. If she moves on her own overnight, that will be top choice. 🙂

  8. My first thought was Spike, also, but I think my pineapple top trumps yours for that name. I’ve rooted and grown several pineapple tops over the years but NOTHING like this one. My window is 40″ wide and the plant overlaps it on either side. It is seriously sharp with nasty barbs along the base of each spike. Anyway, how about “Gloria” for your plant’s glorious sunburst of energy?

    • I had to look up ‘pineapple top’ on our friend ‘Google.’ Yes, your plant definitely should be called SPIKE! Maybe even MONSTER SPIKE. 🙂
      I love love love the name Gloria for a plant – Glory be, yes, the name conjures up a bath of sunlight and energy. Your name is on our top five list!!!

  9. Pam, your home looks lovely, so full of light and these plants are so perfect in the space. 😀 My mother used to play this song when I was very little – impossible to sit still to and will be difficult to beat as a name for a plant! I don’t name plants – probably just as well, they go the way of the fish – never surviving too long! My cars are another thing though – latest one called Horatio. don’t know why, just came to me…and nothing to do with Nelson. Do let us know when you come up with a name! Have a brilliant weekend. 😃

    • I’m smiling at your car Horatio. I think the best names are the ones that just ‘pop’ in our head. Perhaps the one-to-be-named is helping us along.
      You’re the first to say that he/she has heard this song before. I never had until my guy introduced it to me oh those 30 some years ago; when I played it on Friday for him, he hopped out of his chair and began to dance along. I call that Happy Music. And the name was perfect for our happy plant. 🙂

  10. Lotta Lovin’? Crazy Legs? Wild Cat? Thunderbird? …they are the only other Gene Vincent songs that I know. Good luck!

    • What an inspirational thing to do – look up other Gene Vincent songs. I hope that means you were/are familiar with Be-Pop-a-Lula. I think that song should be revived for its joyful exuberance.
      Hmmm, Crazy Legs – that really goes with our new plant’s appearance – it’s on the ‘good potential’ list of names. THANK YOU. 🙂

  11. Spikalicious! I don’t have any plants as I seem to have been born without green thumbs. Our neighbor often asks us to take care of his plants. They manage to hang in just barely until his return.

    • Then you are a loving kind person, to not keep a plant under your care. Yes, when this post went out yesterday, I received several e-mails from friends who ended their greeting with …’from your black-thumbed friend.’ I never knew I had so many of them!
      Spikalicious is a great take-off from the plain-name Spike (which several readers suggested). I like it!

  12. I just had a conversation with someone who names all her electronic toys. Interesting you should bring up plants. Cute names. My suggestion is Hazel because of all the spikes–I actually thought w.i.t.c.h. Hazel. Don’t shoot me. 😀 😀 😀
    I like Be-pop the best.

    • Hazel – original, sweet, yet with an edge to it. Much like this new plant of ours. A serious contender for a name. I actually think GOOD thoughts when I hear the word w.i.t.c.h., so no worries there. 😉

  13. What a fun post, Pam! I love the fact that you name your plants and was looking forward to reading this. The first name that came to mind when I saw your new plant was Tina Turner 😀

  14. Spike was the first name that came to me, Pam, but I’m not there to get the plant’s opinion, so you must ultimately find the name and agree upon it. I am completely in agreement that plants are receptive to music, love, touch, and attitude. The natural world is far more complex than we give it credit.

    • I knew you’d know what I was talking about in this post about plant-love. I remember the 60-Minutes segment I saw once, long ago, that showed how plants react to different music (hard rock, Pop, classical) and how when one plant dies, an ‘aura’ is seen glowing brighter in the plant closest to the just-deceased one. Intense stuff. But totally believable.
      So yes, I do sing and talk and touch my lovelies.
      And play classical music, ’cause it’s proven that’s the music they love the most!

      • So cool, Pam! Have you seen the youtube video of plants creating music? Here’s info from the site:
        “The music in this recording has actually been performed by a plant, Anthurium (anthurium andreanum), thanks to a specific electronic device. Plants emit signals in reaction to external stimuli and to communicate with everything. These signals are detectable as variations in the bio-electrical field of the plant and can be converted into a MIDI signal (Musical Instruments Digital Interface). I sent this MIDI signal into a synthesizer and programmed a soft, soothing sound tuned at 432 Hz. After some time being connected to such device and producing sounds, plants seem to become aware of the process; they seem to understand that those sounds are coming from them… and they start playing with it.”
        Here’s the link if you want to check it out for a minute or two: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZX5B_p79V4
        What did you name your plant?

        • I watched (and listened to) the youtube link. Incredible! Amazing. Fabulous research for a fantasy book, but the neatest thing…this isn’t fantasy. Of course, it’s all in what we want to believe (in).
          We (my guy and I) have not come into agreement with the name for our new plant. As he says, it takes a while for us to get the sense of the plant. However, we have two lovely pigmy palms here in our home office who stand together. Thanks to a reader’s recommendation here, their names are Carpe, and Diem. It’s perfect for them!

  15. I love plants and have many. Too many means a bit of work. I over-winter about 10 on the sun porch.

    I tired to think of a name and all I can think of is Spike-a-Tree, which sounds really dumb. I’ve never named any if my plants. Maybe I should.

    • Plants definitely are work if you want them to be happy, and I can tell you really care about them.
      I feel silly sometimes, whispering in their large ears (we have one plant that has elephant-like leaves) and petting the soft felt underneath, but I swear I feel a ‘thank you’ in my soul.
      Spike-a-Tree – you are agreeing with many folk who feel Spike should be part of the name of this new plant. xo

      • I once read that if you talk and or stroke your plant this makes the plant feel your love and that it will grow much better. I have been guilty of talking to plants when I initially plant them to encourage them to do grow well.

        What ever you name your plant I’m sure it will be very appropriate and one that the plant is sure to love. 🙂

  16. As I live in the desert, my “plants” are of the “plastic E, fakeE variety–not needing water or plant food or even sun–perhaps a dusting now and then. Surprise, surprise–they’ve grown on me! 👏👏👏

    • HA Ha – thanks for the laugh, Pat. Now, if those fakeE plants really start to GROW, well, you my friend have created a miracle. And if anyone can do that – it would be YOU. xoxox

  17. I haven’t named any of my plants, but I do get very attached to them. Which explains why I still have poinsettas (sp) on my window seat from the last three Christmases, and another houseplant that is over twenty years old!

    • I just love the sense of humor here, Ann. Oh my gosh, I know what you mean. In April I’m begging my Christmas poinsettias to die… please! But they keep on growing and blooming happily. I have finally stopped buying poinsettias in December – otherwise my house would be overrun by them. 🙂

  18. Turns out I have a bit of a green thumb, although not on purpose. I don’t read garden magazines and talk to my plants, nor do I name them. Way too many to do that. But once I have one, apparently, they really like hanging out. Now, I do take care of them, water them, make sure they have plenty of light and prune on a regular basis. I have several plants that have lasted well over 20 years and traveled all over the country with me. One in particular started in MI went to KY, then MO, then back to KY (in two different houses) and now resides in Texas with us. It is a mother-in-law tongue aka Sansevieria trifasciata or Snake plant. It started out 6″ tall with about 5 leaves and now stands at more than 5 feet and fills a pot 16″ across. *sigh* Almost all of our plants came from funerals and a couple I inherited from my husband’s stepmother when she passed so they all have sentimental value. I am now up to 12 and I don’t have any desire to move them again! I’m afraid if I actually name them they will stay forever!! LOL! 😀

    • As always, I LOVE YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR!!!! Yeah, you may want to forget the plant-naming thing; your plants will be with your daughter after you’re gone for another half century! My daughter has made it clear to me that she will NOT take on my plants if I suddenly leave this mortal coil. She almost killed my darlings while watering them (or not…) when I was away for a few weeks. 🙂

      • I think if there are plants after I am gone, I will have to find a way to leave messages for mine to be watered. We went on vacation once for a week and everyone of mine were in desperate need of water by the time I got home. Daughter said.. “OH was I supposed to do that too? I don’t think about that because YOU DO IT!” LOL! geez! I leave specific directions for house sitters now! She doesn’t have plants at her house, which is probably a good thing. 😛

  19. This is a fun post, Pam. I am stopping by to say this one is a brother to your long lost, lovely other fern. She would approve of a lively musical name! So sorry of her demise due to lack of song and love.
    How about Louis Armstrong? Or Louie, Louie? I like the idea of the sound bouncing off his spiky hair/leaves! 😀

  20. I love that you name (and talk to) your plants. I tend to do that with inanimate objects as well. But that’s another story. 😉

    These are beautiful. 🌿 As for your new plant, I thought of “Spike” for obvious reasons and because I’m a huge Buffy fan. But I don’t think you want your plant named after a vampire. How about looking up ‘spike’ or ‘sharp’ in other languages? Some of them are very pretty.

  21. I have named everything but my plants and they are totally neglected because I’m gone so much. My favorite plant at home is a bonsai tree . The name that popped into my mind when I saw your plant was Frieda, don’t ask me why but I also like Spike,

  22. Oh Pam, I adore this post – another affirmation of our like-mindedness 🙂 All things deserve a name, not because they need a name necessarily (“a rose by any other name…”) but because naming something/someone 🙂 opens up a channel of care and love and connection that nothing else can. Don’t know why, but I’m getting the name for this plant to be ‘Carpe Diem’! Good luck with the christening…hmmm,,,,I mean, choosing 😉 Love and hugs, Harula xxx

    • Oh my, you may have hit it right between the …. soul. Carpe Diem is one of my favorite sayings. I remember first learning it when I was in college, and absolutely falling in love with the encouragement to SEIZE the DAY! Okay, that’s top on my list… xoxo

      • P.S. My guy and I just borrowed (stole, more like it) your suggestion. We have two lovely pygmy palms in our home office that have been waiting for names for 4 months now. You helped us find their names: one is Carpe, the other is Diem. They are thrilled!

  23. I’ve never heard of anyone giving names to plants, but it seems a great idea to me and Be-pop is a perfect name for a plant! At least everyone in the house will know what plant you’re talking about when mentioned! 😀

    I’ve never had a great success with plants, I currently don’t have any at all. I’d like to though, they do add atmosphere and homeliness to a room, and most cases something green. Both my grandmother and mother had great talents in looking after plants, but I don’t seem to have inherited that gift. But maybe they didn’t survive because I never spoke to them? I used to think that idea was barking crazy years ago, but now I’m more inclined to believe it could be true, and that plants have more feelings and are closer to us than we would dare to believe.

    What about ‘Sparky’ for a name? It looks like a Sparky to me! 😀

    • Our kids grew up knowing each plant’s name, and calling the plant by its name at times. I love visiting my daughter at her house now, where rooms are filled with green lively plants and flowers, and yes, some of her plants are named also.
      I must admit, I think treating a plant as a family member may help you find your green thumb. 🙂
      Sparky is a sparkling idea!

  24. Oh, this is such a fun post. I once knew this guy who worked as a florist and, at home, when a plant wasn’t doing very well he would reprimand it and put it “in the corner” where it would stay until it “behaved” itself, which miraculously, it inevitable did. 🙂

  25. After we rescued up to 25 kittens and cats over the years in Nicaragua and had used up the obvious artists names ( Henri, as in Matisse: Salvador, as in Dali: Pablo, as in Picasso: Georgia as in O’ Keefe) etc. we eventually were at a loss… as we liked using real names as opposed to fluffy and kitty. Much as I love, love the concept of naming plants, if I had to add plant names as well, it would feel like a very full house.

    Poor Benji the ficus tree! I definitely think you appear totally sane. Plants do respond to loving care just as all living things do. This is a beautiful enlightening post.

    Peta

  26. Be-bop, brings back so many memories. Loved that song when I was growing up and my friend loved it so much she named her dog Be-bop.

    I love your beautiful new friend and like someone mentioned above, “Spike” comes to mind.

    • Oh my gosh, a dog with the name of Be-bop. How perfect, particularly if the dog is a bouncing happy being. I think we need to get you and Bob here for a visit and a plant-naming ceremony. We’ll put on the Oldies for inspiration. 🙂

    • Ohhh, I like Elizabeth, nickname Beth. Spike seems a bit too – stiff – to me, and her fronds are actually quite gentle and sensitive to the touch. Thanks for returning and making sure your comment got in here!

    • Ha ha. Yes, ferns and orchids and palms and ivy can last years and years. No, we keep our green thumbs to ourselves and our families – otherwise I think we’d be spending a lot of our time talking with the neighbors’ plants. 🙂

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