Reprinted with permission from the author, this piece will be published in "Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul" (February 2001).I had picked out the flowers in my wedding bouquet carefully, with thought for the meaning of each one. There were blue iris, my fiancé's favorite flower; white roses, symbolizing purity; and strands of green ivy, to represent faithfulness.Midway through our wedding reception, I found myself breathless and happy, chatting with friends and juggling champagne and my flowers. Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned to see a woman I had met only briefly, a friend of my new mother-in-law. In her hand, she held a long tendril of ivy."This fell out of your bouquet when you were on the dance floor," she said. I thanked her and began to reach for it, when she added, "Do you mind if I keep it?"I was startled at first. What sort of person would ask for the bride's flowers? I barely knew this woman. What did she want with my ivy?"Go ahead, keep it," I said with a smile, and congratulated myself on being gracious in the face of a rather odd request. Then the music started up, and I was off again in the crowd.A few months later, the bell rang at our new home. I opened the door to find that same stranger on my porch. This time, I couldn't hide my surprise. I hadn't seen her since the wedding. What was this all about?"I have a wedding gift for you," she said, and held out a small planter. It was crowded with thick, healthy foliage. Suddenly, I knew.
"It's the ivy you dropped at your wedding," she explained. "It looked healthy, so I took it home and made a cutting, and planted it for you."Years ago, at her own wedding, someone had done the same for her. "It's still growing, and I remember my wedding day every time I see it," she said. "Now I try to plant some for other brides when I can."My wedding ivy has thrived for many years, outliving any other effort I've made at indoor gardening. As the giver predicted, a glance at the glossy leaves brings back memories of white lace and wedding vows. I treasure the ivy's story, and have shared it many times.Now, nearly 20 years later, I'm the mother of three growing sons. Someday they'll be married, I know. And although I don't want to be an interfering mother-in-law, surely the mother of the groom can suggest that the bride's bouquet contain a bit of ivy.I know just the plant to cut it from.