Friday, November 21, 2014

jades, imaginary travel and painting

Although I love plants of all kinds, I have never been much of a succulent person. I know they're ultra trendy and there are so many that are very beautiful, but they've never really grabbed me the way other plants do. That being said, I love jade (Crassula) plants. My oldest plant is a jade. I bought it at the grocery store soon after we moved to Cleveland (which means I've had it for something like 16 years). It was in a little pot and was probably on sale. That little floral section of the grocery store was always my first stop when I'd go grocery shopping (the store was not very nice and kept going downhill till eventually we stopped shopping there). I was always on the lookout for sale plants. None of those other grocery store sale plants have survived the years (I can't even really remember them), but the jade is still with me.

I don't do anything special to keep it flourishing. It just does its thing (and most winters it flowers). Whenever leaves or stems break off, I stick them in the soil beside the other stems. They eventually take root and in that way I've created a little jade forest.

crassula, succulent

Or, rather, not so little. It's about 2 1/2 feet wide and almost 3 feet tall. I should probably repot it one of these days, but to find the right pot...

Jade cuttings are so easy to root, not just plopped into a pot, but even carried across the country in a purse and planted weeks later. How do I know that? you might be wondering. Or maybe not. It's probably pretty obvious.

As long as I'm mentioning cross-country travel, do you mind if we take a quick trip? Escape this midwestern autumn that suddenly feels like the middle of winter. Let's visit another jade plant.

California, crassula

It was huge. And all around on the gravel beneath it were little bits of the plant that had broken off. The gravel was a parking lot behind an auto repair shop in Shell Beach, California.

Shell Beach California

Across the road in one direction this:

hills

And a block away in the other direction was this:

California, Pacific Ocean, Beach

The vast and beautiful Pacific Ocean.

Ocean, Sand

I'm putting myself in a daze just looking at these photos and imagining my toes chased by the surf. Sorry. Back to the jade.

Some of those little bits came back with me in my purse. Traveled around in California for a bit, visited Joshua Tree National Park, the Grand Canyon, Santa Fe, came back to the midwest in a snowstorm... (If you need a bit more of an imaginary vacation, you can read about the trip here and here). Those cuttings came home to Ohio with me where I planted them in a little pot. They rooted and grew and moved with me to Wisconsin. Last winter I painted them (you can see me painting them here and that original painting is here). Earlier this week I created a set of mini archival prints (4"x6") with that little jade included.

Jade Plant, Anne Butera, Watercolor

Jades have been on my mind lately. A week or so ago I took a cutting from my big plant. I had been wanting to do this for a long time, ever since I saw Geninne Zlatkis's jade plant that looks like a topiary or a mini tree (truth be told, any time Geninne shares photos of her succulent collection I'm tempted to become a succulent lover). Inspired to create my own jade topiary, I knew it would be easy to do, just plant a single stem and wait for it to grow.


I have a while to wait. But there's something endearing about this baby. And yes, you guessed it (and if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you know for sure), I just had to paint it.

crassula, succulent, watercolor, painting

Quite fun, really.

That's what I love about plants. Their history. Their stories. I love being able to cultivate more plants. Share them (my mom's jade plant was grown from cuttings of mine). And, of course, paint them.

Wishing you a lovely weekend.

2 comments:

  1. This post has special meaning for me, Anne, because I have 3 jade plants - two created from cuttings from the first. And the first came from a cutting my mom gave me from her huge jade plant. Good thing I had it, because my daughter looked for "Gram's" jade plant after she died, and discovered that it had become diseased and was not salvageable at all. I'm so happy I have its "children", which of course I've shared with my daughter. So, it too has a story! Love your paintings!!

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  2. My friend would stick seeds from lemons, grapefruit, just about anything into a pot already occupied just to see what happens. I have a lemon (I think) that will likely never flower or fruit but is a joy anyway because it was born when I poked a few seeds from a lemon I was squeezing into a pot. Thanks for keeping us aware of our own wonderful memories.

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