Dexter’s Dragon Plant

Helene Taylor
4 min readJul 24, 2022

My six year old neighbour, Dexter, told me this crazy plant at the front of my yard grows dragons… that is, *if* (and he says this “if” with great caution) IF I dare cut any of this rapidly growing plant down.

He proceeded to share an elaborate story about how dragons grow, what to be wary of etc., he was so serious about his findings, he made his father stop their car in the middle of the road, vehicles lined up behind, when he witnessed me watering it. He called out the window with worry and exasperation, “NEVER CUT A LEAF!”

Welp. A day later there was a random leaf on the ground. I can only assume it got there by natural causes. I showed Dexter and insisted I did not cut it. He came over to assess the damage, and lo’ and behold there was a baby dragon underneath it! Instead of shock and delight Dexter shook his head and was all like, “I KNEW this would happen” and carefully studied what stage the dragon was at. Lucky for all of us he was willing to take the dragon off my hands and suss out whether it would grow. But then, the following day he asked me if he could more seriously study the plant for his research purposes. I invited him over and he noted the flowers were finally blooming and that must be the issue. I agreed. I hadn’t seen any blooms until the dragon appeared.

He reviewed the roots in this visit and you won’t believe this but THERE WAS A DRAGON EGG buried in the dirt around the roots! Instead of being delighted and excited, he shook his head again, “I KNEW this would happen” and proceeded to share how dragon eggs hatch. As he studied the plant he expressed his concern that this dragon looks meaner than the baby one he discovered the other day, so he offered to take the egg off my hands and according to his mother, Dexter has slept with it. I assume to keep a watchful eye on the potential hatching process.

I was initially a little worried engaging in this story with Dexter as I don’t know how far I should go with a little boy’s imagination when I am supposed to be the logical adult. And so, I listen to what he says about them. I make no rules of my own about these dragons or the plant, I don’t add to his stories. Of course I don’t, I don’t know about dragons and as Dexter appears to be the expert, I need to listen, not speak. Right?

I must share my surprise at how this kid isn’t gushing with excitement about this situation, rather he has become an ambassador of dragon plants. He takes his role very seriously and clearly understands when he speaks about the magic of this plant, his words matter, as once they are said, it may produce yet another dragon and he doesn’t want our neighbourhood to run amok with dragons (I secretly think he wants our neighbourhood to run amok with dragons). And so he checks my plant daily. As I don’t have my own children I have never spent this much time around a small child. I never thought his imagination would transition into responsibility so quickly.

Over the Summer this dragon plant will go through many transitions, and my intuition (or rather, my Amazon Prime account) has told me, two more baby dragons and another dragon egg may be produced and then, in the Fall, this magical dragon plant will die. I’m sure this will offer some relief for Dexter, as now his whole summer is about protecting his neighbourhood from these fire breathing reptiles. That’s a lot of responsibility. But he seems ready (as I’ve witnessed him give himself a pep talk about being ready) and his reassurances to me not to worry is comforting. I suppose if I had a child of my own, I’d have delighted in witnessing how much their confidence grew alongside the plant they tend to every day. Instead, I get to see my little neighbour do so, and that’s fine by me. It’s fine by me.

The Fall will come and decompose the plant, the soil will renew underneath the snow over Winter, and the seeds of this plant will produce again in the Spring. My only hope is Dexter’s imagination will remain as fertile.

And to edit, he’s since informed me I have an issue with the clematis growing up the fence in my backyard. After much scrutiny, Dexter’s determined it’s a monster growing clematis. Sigh.

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Helene Taylor

Screenwriter. Playwright. Prose. Poetry. Musings. Chronic curiosity. Story Engine. Research fiend. Cynical Gen X slacker. www.helenetaylor.ca