A Surprise From My Chinese Evergreen

Chinese evergreen line drawing

Some sad stuff happened last week, but I’m feeling more upbeat now. This week dragging myself out of self-pity I spent every spare minute studying design (or having my heart torn apart reading José Saramago’s Blindness) and curating content for an upcoming Resource Library. So stay tuned for that.

Our column of the week is about going in for the long run, not the superficial appearances or titles. And the protagonist is my Chinese evergreen plant.

My green thumbs were not always so green.

It began with this dashingly beautiful garden shelf. I indulged in painting my own flower design right on the wall. Each paint stroke was a tiny burst of adrenaline because when we bought our teeny apartment 4 years ago, it was the first time I owned my walls. Which meant I could do anything I dang well pleased.

Sometimes it was disastrous. Once I nearly passed out trying to paint over the “mountain scene” mess in the living room before Henrique came home from work. But this time it was half ok.

And that was that. I populated the shelf with all the greenery I could carry home. And set them there, all pretty.

2 months later.

1 dead bonsai. 1 dead mini palm. An overwatered, dead succulent. And several perished cacti. Who, I ask you, kills cacti? 

It might have been a picturesque snap for instagram, but I didn’t put the time in to learn about caring for this little garden that was at my mercy.


Fast forward a few years and yesterday, as I was prodding around the soil of our Chinese evergreen, a leaf opened its delicate little membrane and it revealed a beautiful secret. Not another leaf. A happy, healthy flower. The first in the Markham-Delgado household.

This has been 1 year 8 months in the making. A tireless effort of balancing the impossibly dry climate of Denver, ferociously fighting off insect invasions and carrying the plant to the window for a weekly dose of intense sun.

Sometimes we need to focus on the basic day-to-day efforts and not the fluff. We need to go in for the long run, improving what we already know a little every day. Focus on the things that are going to get you where you want to be. Because in the end, everything you’ve learnt can’t be snatched from you. Even when you lose your job.

So chin up friends, no one can strip you of your skills or your passions.

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