The Stuff that Surrounds Us: #2 – Spider Plant
Yes, a spider plant holds a special place in my heart.
Each Spring, my dear alma mater would host “Mom’s Weekend.”
I’d attended a football game with my father during Dad’s Weekend and given my sister her first glimpse of college life during Siblings’ Weekend. In April, it was Mom’s turn.
While typical Mom’s Weekend activities included a fashion show in the Illini Union, I took my mother to the Stacks in the Graduate Library (“Did you know, Mom, that most Freshman don’t have a Stacks pass?”). Each visit to the Stacks filled me with amazement and I wanted to share that wonder with my mother (though I didn’t share with her my theory that the Stacks were haunted nor my supposition that I could be murdered there and left to lay, undiscovered, for months).
In addition to bibliophilic activities, I’d heard about an exhibition put on by the horticulture students – a combination garden show and sale. My green-thumbed mother was sure to enjoy. The event was bigger than I had anticipated and featured all types of botanical study from the pretty to the purposeful. Afterward, we looked at the plants offered for sale; with no roommate to consult, I was free to fill my dorm room with all manner of green.
I’m not sure who spotted it first, but once the spider plant was in my hands, I knew it was coming home with me. This had to be the largest spider plant in captivity. Among its long, pointed green leaves were countless shoots – each dangling its own baby spider plant desperate to grow roots and be free of its mother. I had no idea how to separate these babies into viable, independent plants, but I had ample subjects on which to experiment. I gifted several baby plants to other students – they proved to be the perfect dorm-plant as I had a ready supply of replacements.
I brought the plant home for the summer and my parents house slowly filled with spider plants. The plant featured above is either the baby or grand-baby of that original, enormous mama-plant.
My mother made the trip to Champaign-Urbana every year for Mom’s Weekend, and we always attended that Garden Show. While I purchased other plants (I remember, in particular, a tragically ill-fated azalea), none were as epic as the spider plant I got Freshman year. This little green remnant is a daily reminder of those wonderful weekends with my mom.