The Miraculous Lavender

lavender growing out of concrete

When it first appeared, I almost pulled it as a weed. Then I thought, “Is that a lavender plant? Growing here?”

Curious to see what would happen, I let it go. I assumed it would not live long. It’s growing out of a crack. It may have sprouted on the back of our last pathetic winter rain, but we’ve had no precipitation for months now. I don’t water it. I don’t send water down the stairs. The soil off the stairs is dry, because that slope is planted with natives, which are getting no irrigation. There’s no plumbing beneath the staircase, either. Yet the lavender keeps getting bigger.

I’m going to have to pull it soon, before it ruins our stairs. But I don’t want to, because it’s so determined to live.

And this goes to show that when a plant wants to grow somewhere, when it establishes itself according to its own rules, it is unstoppable. Soil type, recommended water, sun exposure– all these things mean little in comparison wonderful alchemy which allows plants to grow exactly where they want to grow, even if they are breaking all of our rules.

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  1. I get a lot of volunteer lavenders here in Portland, and they are always the ones that do that very best.

  2. I once saw a tomato plant growing out of a crack in the gutter at lake ave and Walnut street in Pasadena, I was perturbed because it looked better then the plants I had at home.

    • I know your pain. There was a tomato like that growing out of our neighbor’s retaining wall. Gorgeous. And that year we had some kind of tomato problem in the garden.

  3. “that when a plant wants to grow . . .”

    Mrs. H, does a plant have a will to grow?

    Shouldn’t this more accurately read:

    “that when the Creator wants a plant to grow . . .”

  4. Get used to the lavender growing there. They are persistent plants, and even if you pull it out, it will come back. You could always trim it and leave it.

  5. I wouldn’t pull it back, you’ll likely not get the root out of that crack anyways. I had one grow between some paver bricks and the driveway and it’s still there. :^) I vote for pruning it back regularly when it gets to big and drying the lavender to use. That way it’s not in your way, won’t likely get too big if it’s continually being cut back and you won’t have to fight to get the roots out.

  6. @Dede @Pepper

    Trimming it back sounds like a good compromise. I’ll have a little staircase bonsai!

  7. Man thinks this worlds made for him and that might be true, but there’s a crack in every sidewalk where the grass breaks through. -Todd Snider

  8. A tomato grew out of the heat register in the floor of my mom’s kitchen a few years ago. She decided that was her sign to get the vents cleaned!

  9. love your blog and bought the book so i thought of you when i came across bleach pen art. bleach pens are pricey but are so much fun doodling on cotton stuff. (like batik, not like getting stains out. everything i have has a stain on it). corn starch, water and bleach. heat the corn starch and water, cool, add bleach, suck it up into a glue bottle or whatever and dye anything, a pretty thing.
    sorry my comment is on a unrelated subject (i am at my stupidest when using the computer) but i thought of you when i found this out. i love your blog and yes i make my own lotion the same as you. my g-aunt made it at the farm all the time with the same amounts of everything, did you know cathrine and wardy deshambo too?

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