You know, I’ve never much cared for caladium. They’ve always been a “whatever” plant in my book, a humdrum bit of foliage most often seen crammed into decorative baskets and seasonal greenhouse exhibits. Who cares? (Perhaps many of you. In which case, I’m a monster and a tasteless fool. Sorry.)
In all honesty, my eyes pretty much just skimmed over them, even during desperate mid-winter greenhouse trips when I was literally scratching at the walls for some greenery. Even then they just barely registered on my visual radar.
I’d sooner cuddle up to a massive pachypodium with deadly spines or grow a circle of impatiens surrounded by ring of decorative plastic edging before I’d go for a caladium.
That’s just how it was for me back then.
But somehow all of that changes when you see one growing up through a lawn in St. Lucia. Suddenly, you find yourself exclaiming out loud, Hey, look at that!
The next thing you know, you see a small caladium with bright, variegated leaves growing between the rows of raised beds on an organic farm and you think to yourself, Gee, that’s kind of interesting. You mention it to other gardeners as if you’re the first person in the world to have discovered that caladiums sort-of, maybe aren’t that bad after all. You even consider for a moment whether it would be possible to smuggle one home in your suitcase, a distinction reserved for only the most exciting plants because face it, you don’t have the guts or wherewithal to pull that off.
(I’m one of those people who gets really sweaty, forgetful and nervous going through customs for no reason at.)
Before the trip is out you find yourself regretting all of the photos you DIDN’T take of caladiums, all the times you passed one over for a ginger or a poinsettia. Major oversight.
And suddenly, without your consent, you don’t even seem to mind the most fakey fake, over-the-top, completely classless varieties with cheesy names like ‘Fantasy’, ‘Miss Muffett’, and ‘White Christmas.’
And you can’t help but wonder, Who have I become?