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.
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.
Be-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?
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.