The plant is perfectly planted in a pleasing plot

Jun 15 2011 - 6:44pm


22A quick catch-up: a couple of months ago I shamelessly advertised in this column the availability of Frank -- that's short for "Frankenplant," the name my kids dubbed a plant that started out as one of a trio of tropical-looking plants in an 8-inch pot and ended up taking over an upstairs bedroom. That probably sounds like an exaggeration. It isn't.

Frank was a quirky thing from the start. The other two plants in the trio accepted the slightly larger pots they were transplanted to, grew to a respectable size, then settled. Frank, on the other hand, just kept growing. To make a very long story short, he hit adolescence as a six-foot-square plant. He crawled across the large pot I planted him in, swung across the room, and pressed himself up to the window, threatening to overtake the entire upstairs if I didn't figure out what to do with him. It was time to let him go, and I was desperate to find him a good home.

I needed to let the world know about Frank's plight -- and fast, so I wrote his story here, then waited.

Can I just say that some of you out there have very strange senses of humor? Just for the record: No, Frank, was never in "The Little Shop of Horrors." No, I never took a cutting from Frank because I don't know how you take a cutting from a leaf that is already two feet square when it unfurls. Yes, I'm sure he would have loved being in your little sun room with all your other plants, but that would have been like putting an elephant in a chicken coop. And no, I wasn't interested in letting Frank take over my place and moving out.

Some of you were thoughtfully helpful, recommending places like the library, hospital, doctor's office, university, and Ogden's Union Station.

But then came the e-mail that made Frank and I sit up and take notice. A science teacher at the DaVinci Academy of Science and Arts in Ogden wrote and right away I knew she was the one. She spoke Frank's language. She started her letter with "I think Frank would like to be around a young and hip crowd." She'd talked it over with her 7th and 8th graders and affirmed their desire to "welcome Frank with open and loving arms" into their classroom. She noted that Frank "would have a few adopted brothers and sisters." She clinched the deal by adding, "Talk it over with Frank." Clearly she understood plants and the people who love them.

We exchanged pictures. She sent photos of a large, sunny classroom. I sent photos of the bedroom-bound Frank with the caption, "Are you sure?" She responded enthusiastically, adding that her students offered to send me updates on Frank's progress. She also promised to shield him from plant dissection so as not to traumatize him.

Clearly Frank was going to a better place.

Adoption morning arrived. I enlisted the aid of a strong neighbor to carry Frank from an upstairs bedroom to the back of my waiting, covered pickup truck. Someone missed a very good opportunity for an entry in America's Funniest Videos. There's just no way to describe what that must have looked like. Eventually Frank was wedged in and we headed north. Looking in my rearview mirror proved futile; it was a jungle back there.

Frank's new mom waited for us with a cart and we wheeled him into the school, right through crowds of young adolescents who barely gave us a glance. (That's a weird stage of life. Nothing fazes them.) I realized I was bringing a pot filled with dirt and a very large plant to a total stranger. Happily, she was delighted with Frank. I was so relieved.

Frank's mom called recently to report that he's doing well. According to her, the kids like him, and he likes them. After chatting, I hung up the phone, walked to the doorway of that vacant bedroom, and felt a moment of strange melancholy.

It lasted about two seconds.

You may contact Louise Brown at or by calling her editor at 801-625-4223.

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