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purple showers everywhere

Not long after we moved in our house, a ton of these upright purple flowers started breaking out all over. There was a stand of them in our backyard, along the side of our house, and even some popping up in the front bed. I had no idea what they were but they lasted a long time.

In our first winter, they all started looking brown, turned to brown sticks, then crumbled to the ground. Not really understanding the life cycles of flowers, I thought that like grass or bushes, if they turned brown and crumbled to the ground they were lost forever. I would come inside and tell Derek, ‘I think we lost those cool purple flowers.’ I worried so much about losing them because they were one of the few colorful things growing in our new house. And I worried I’d never find them again, what they were.

I cleaned out all the dead sticks everywhere in early spring. And then what do ya know, starting in May or so, green little shoots started popping up and then just stood there for most of the summer until it rained. And when it rained, oh boy, did those flowers come out of their little shells. And in even stranger and further places around our house. By this point I have started to understand that perennial flowers continue to come back by stealthy invisible spreading roots. Either that or they reseed and the seeds keep giving us more every year.

So yesterday, while shopping at a local nursery–voila! here was one of those famous purple flowers, being sold for a few bucks–and I finally found out what they were: Ruellia.