CHARLESTON, W.Va. - My old friend Jean Simpson does a wonderful job taking care of the hundreds of Charleston's hungry as executive director of Manna Meal. Now I find out she's an artist, too! Jean sent me a photo of a collection of decorated clay pots that will be for sale at the MannaFest, an upcoming benefit for Manna Meal Soup Kitchen.
"The photo is of pots my girl friends and I made for the sale we are having at Manna Meal," Jean wrote. "We made these on a girls' week we have every year on the Greenbrier River. Some of the stones are from the river."
MannaFest will be held 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday at St. John's Episcopal Church, 1105 Quarrier St.
"We are not only selling these flowerpots but tulips, daffodils, and grape hyacinth bulbs as well," Jean said. "We bought bulk bulbs and will package sets and sell individually." The pots and bulbs will be part of the treasure sale that takes place under tents, which will be set up outside the church.
David Campbell of Charleston has a houseplant that breaks all of the rules. The foliage is not attractive. It grows better when it's left alone. And it blooms at night. It's a night-blooming cereus, and it's a gangly vine that is a member of the cactus family.
When David called to describe the plant, I admit I was underwhelmed. I get calls about wonderful plants all of the time. So what, it blooms at night. So what, its blooms are big. So what? But the more I talked to David, I realized this plant is a wonder to behold.
Just Google it. There are dozens of videos on the Web showing time-lapse images of this plant from bud to demise. In real time, the blooms only last a few hours. Around 9 or 10 p.m., the bud will begin to open. You can see the movement as it bursts into a bloom that is 8 to 12 inches in diameter, and the scent will fill the room. By midnight, the flower is open, and it only lasts a short time. By morning, it's gone.