Mint Mom: My Viennese Houseplant

Brittney Sedgwick
October 6, 2019
mint plant, painted pot

“I am not buying a houseplant,” I say to myself again and again in restraint. I pass flower stands on Kärntner Straße, walking from the IES Abroad Center in Palais Corbelli to my UBahn (Subway) station. I daydream to various greens in Stadtpark and visit the shrubs of Schönbrunn, strolling through leaves that I long to see in my windowsill. Still, I don’t want a houseplant. 

At the end of my first week in Vienna, I found a cut sunflower lying on the roadside. I brought it to my apartment and kept it in a glass of water for a few weeks until it eventually wilted. There,  I had justification because it was already cut, and was therefore already on its way out of this life. What I don’t want, is to bring home a plant and abandon it on December 14th, when my flight leaves for Philly. 

However, I had another encounter somewhat similar to my sunflower story. Also early in the semester, I went swimming in the Donau (Danube, in English) with some friends, old and new. The Donau is the second largest river in Europe, flowing through 10 countries, one of which being Austria. As I cut from path to water, I noted the various forms of vegetation: some tall grass, small purple flowers, and mint. I could easily identify the mint plant because my parents grow it in our front yard. 

The Donau was chilling at first, but as time went on, like so many other things, I adjusted. It was a peaceful yet playful afternoon, jumping off of a little dock, wading in the water, treading above seaweed. There were white swans making hearts with their necks just as they do in fairytales, and there was a glittering of golden light against the ripples we made with our feet. 

Before leaving the Donau, I decided to pick a piece of mint. I rubbed one of its leaves against my fingertips and sniffed the lingering scent. I put this plant in a glass of water, too, thinking that I would keep it until it left. 

This, however, did not go according to plan. 

In just a few days, the mint plant started growing roots. The stem grew, too, getting taller, and even budding. When the roots reached about six inches long, I knew that I needed to figure something out. 

That Sunday morning, my roommate and I ventured to the Karlsplatz UBahn station. It is one of the few places where you can purchase food on a Sunday without going to a sit-down restaurant or café, and probably one of the even fewer places with to-go pastries and coffee. We picked out a few sweets and brought them to Bruno-Kreisky Park, which is only two blocks from our apartment. We shared the goods at a picnic table, and once we finished, I dug through my bag in search of a metal spoon that I brought from the apartment. 

With the spoon, I took my empty-paper-coffee-cup to a grassy patch and started digging. I filled the cup with dirt and placed the mint plant in the center. 

In other words, I have somehow acquired a houseplant. 

I’m not entirely sure what I will do with it when I have to leave Vienna. I have thought about planting it in Bruno-Kreisky Park before it freezes over with winter, but then I will surely miss the scent of mint sneaking through my bedroom each time a breeze blows through. I suppose I still have some time to think on it.
 

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Brittney Sedgwick

<p><span style="color:#333333">I am Brittney Sedgwick, a rising junior studying Music Performance at Gettysburg College. I sing classical music: art song, opera, chamber music, and more. Before attending Gettysburg, I spent four years studying creative writing. I love reading poetry, drinking tea, going for sunset walks, and stargazing. </span></p>

Program:
Destination:
Term:
2019 Fall
Home university:
Gettysburg College
Hometown:
Philadelphia, PA
Major:
Music Performance
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