Yesterday, when I was walking from my sister's house, to my mother's, I noticed this brilliant red flower growing amongst some uncut weeds. Cockscomb, I thought and immediately remembered my father. My dad liked gardening, and after I had moved out of the house to begin my life, he ordered some seeds for a gigantic variety of cockscomb.
I was completely unaware of the plant and I don't remember ever seeing one before, but he planted the seeds and they thrived and grew into an impressive display. A photographer from the local paper noticed Dad's plants, took a picture, and it was used as the cover for the paper's magazine.
He won top prize for the flowers for many years straight at the local county fair. My mother, who always went to the Indiana State fair as part of a pioneer quilting demonstration, always took some cockscomb up there to decorate the cabin they worked in.
When my father became ill and could no longer garden, the patch of cockscomb disappeared. After his death, my sister who took over the family house, ordered more cockscomb seeds, but was unsuccessful in getting them to grow. She gave up on the gigantic variety, lowered her expectations, and tried the smaller types of cockscomb. She wasn't ever able to get them growing either and finally gave up. That was a few years ago.
This spring, my nephew removed a basketball goal that was planted beside a cement slab outside the carport. It required digging a deep hole and a lot of man-handling to get the big pipe that held the basketball goal out of the ground. After the pole was removed, a small gravelly weedy spot remained. Luckily, this small weedy patch was missed by the lawn mower.
The disturbed soil from his digging, must have held a cockscomb seed from one of my sister's attempts, and the rearranging of the ground put the seed in a situation that supported growth and up it came.