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Archive for May, 2020

Kat & Michelle 2Over twenty years have passed since the blossoming of my friendship with Michelle. Our friendship took root while working together at WYES-TV in New Orleans. I was a guest at her wedding and an attendee at her baby shower (and she attended my shower when expecting Andrew). We have remained steadfast friends despite living an hour away from one another. I love her adventurous spirit and the willingness to try new things, especially food. After all, she is the one who introduced me to Vietnamese food. We both like cats, reading, chatting, writing, and putting puzzles together. She also likes plants which is something else we have in common, except she has a better green thumb than I have even though she claims to garden by neglect.

Tall Love Leaf PlantBack in February when I visited Michelle, I noticed a few of her plants on her front porch while waiting for her to answer the door. They were unique looking (one looked liked a plant you would see in a Dr. Seuss story), and I had never noticed them before, so I asked her about them. She told me they were “Love Leaf” plants (Kalanchoe plant, indigenous to the West Indies) and that they grow from the leaf of the plant. She explained that when leaves fall off and are carried off by the wind, depending on where they land, they can grow into a new plant. A leaf had been blown into her fountain and roots had sprouted. I was fascinated since I had never heard of anything so amazing and asked where she found this plant. As you may expect, the story of how she obtained her “love leaf” plant is stemmed from LOVE.

Panama RickyMichelle explained that she discovered this plant 28 years ago while honeymooning with her sweetheart Richard. They went on a cruise and bought the leaf on one of the islands (Grand Cayman, Domenica, St. Martin, or St. Thomas). It traveled all the way back to the Louisiana encased in a sealed cellophane bag (plants can only be brought back to the United States if commercially processed). Love Leaf with BloomsWhen Michelle returned, she carved her sweetheart’s initials in the leaf and planted it (see picture at the bottom of post with “The Lore of the Leaf”).  She currently has 10-15 plants, not counting the “volunteers” that have sprouted up after landing in a spot they can take root. All of her plants have originated from the original leaf although the original plant is no longer alive. The plant does eventually grow bell-shaped flowers that will get a tinge of pink when they mature.

Michelle & Richard

Esneault FamilyMichelle and Richard celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary this month. They met their sophomore year of high school at a Brother Martin Drama Club meeting. Michelle attended Mount Carmel (all girls) and Richard attended Brother Martin (all boys). After a year of just being friends, they started dating and the rest is history. They are happily married with a brilliant and beautiful daughter who has recently graduated from high school. Their love for each other continues to grow like the “love leaf” plants.

Kat's Love Leaf

Kat’s Love Leaf Plants

Since Michelle planted that first leaf, she has shared the love by giving away many leaves and plants over the years. On that visit back in February, she gifted me with a couple of love leaves which I brought home, and my hubby planted them for me. My plants are growing terrifically. Each day, when I see my “love leaf” plants, they make me smile, and I think of Michelle. It is definitely a daily happiness boost.

Michelle's Love LeafGrowing this delightful plant is quite effortless. It can be grown inside or outside. You simply place the leaf on some soil and give it water and sunlight. My two plants are kept on the front porch. Occasionally when I’m expecting rain, I will put my pots out on the bricks of my flowerbed and they get watered naturally. If they are kept outside, Michelle recommends covering them in extremely cold weather, so they do not freeze and die. Additionally, when it freezes, she picks a few leaves to bring inside in case the sheets she puts over her plants do not protect them enough.

What a flowery expression of love that can flourish over a lifetime! I think we can all use more love in our lives, dear reader. My plan is to share more love, whether by sending a card, chatting on the phone, expressing it verbally or physically (hugs and kisses), or giving a love leaf. There are so many ways to express love towards your sweetheart, children, family members, friends, or fellow human beings in general. What are ways you express love? I’d love for you to share your expressions of love. Happiness!

 

“Love is never wasted, for its value does not rest upon reciprocity.” ~ C.S. Lewis

 

Love Leaf Lore

 

Note: Many thanks to Michelle for sharing photos with me for this post of her plants and of herself with Richard and her daughter Kaitlyn.

 

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