Digging through the garden in her hobby farm and home in Eureka nearly 40 years ago, Betty Stewart found a tiny bottle, only a few centimeters tall, with two small seeds inside.
After digging it up she decided to save it so put it away in her house. Not long after, she pulled it out to look closer and one of the seeds had bloomed into a flower. No foliage whatsoever, just a single magenta flower.
Now four decades later, the single flower is still just as bright and alive as ever.
“It surprised me so much,” said Stewart about the flower opening up. The house that she and her family lived in at the time was originally built in the 1830s. Stewart added that she had also found a few coins in the garden that were about 100 years old at the time as well.
“I love gardening, I still love gardening,” Stewart said, motioning to the numerous potted plants scattered around her seniors’ complex apartment. Judging by the small metal eye hole screwed into the small cork stopping up the bottle, Stewart assumes it must have been a pendant for a necklace; but she still has many questions about her mysterious find.
Although she has shown it to many people over the years and had many guesses as to what it could be or why it is in the tiny bottle, there still has been no definite answer.
Stewart is currently trying to find information on what kind of flower the bloom is as well as why the two seeds, one of which did not bloom, were in the small glass container. After 40 years, Stewart is hoping she can find some answers about the mysterious object that will put her questions to rest.
She encourages anyone who thinks they might know anything about the item to contact her at 902-695-5730; however, she does not have caller ID or an answering machine so she recommends calling after dusk to ensure she is home.
“I was so interested in it and I wondered if anybody ever had an answer,” she said.
Betty Stewart shows off the tiny glass bottle with a cork stopper that contains a still-bloomed, 40-year-old flower. (Brimicombe photo)
Over the years, Stewart has heard a few theories as to what the plant might be an why it would be in the glass bottle. Some of them are explained below.
Straw flowers: Some thought the flower in the jar may be what many know as straw flowers or Xerochrysum bracteatum, given the name because the petals of the flower are papery and stiff, like straw almost. This is thought to be why the 40-year-old flower has yet to wilt as straw flowers are also called everlasting daisies by some because, once dried, they maintain their colour and shape seemingly forever. However, straw flowers do have green lance-shaped foliage.
Importation: One theory as to why the seeds may be in a glass bottle comes from a man who once visited Stewart to see the flower. He told her that in the past, when on long journeys overseas, it was common to store seeds of plants in jewelry to transport them and then plant them once the owner reached their new home.