If you like surprises, you should buy an old house. Almost every day, you are presented with the unexpected--“little” things that escaped detection during pre-purchase inspections. There are the usual-- leaky pipes, frayed wires, and weak floor joists. Then, there are the not so usual-- windows that rise into hollow walls, Asian Lady Beetle invasions, and the tap, tap, tapping of copper pipes.

This has been my favorite surprise to date-- a flowering Texas Mountain Laurel, which grows at the southwest corner of our home. A bit of research revealed the evergreen’s fascinating history. It’s believed that its bright red seeds, although poisonous, were once used by indigenous people for ritualistic purposes-- to embellish ceremonial garments, craft jewelry, and possibly, produce visions.

I also learned that the shrub is difficult to transplant. While it prefers well drained, rocky soil for a surface root system, it depends on a long principal taproot for survival. It’s almost impossible to capture the entire taproot during the transplanting process.

Hmm . . . it seems to me that some people endure uprooting better than others. My husband accepts transplanting rather well-- me, not so much. However, when the two of us were considering our recent move, I was the one championing the change, because, as I stated at the time, I was seeking a place to “root in”. More than once, I’d been transplanted, and while previous settings supported a network of tender, shallow roots, a deep, sinewy taproot never developed.  

I wonder . . .  will it now?

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