I Love Flowers. 2016-01-06

StFrancisI love flowers, plants, bushes, and trees. I love them! The amazing thing about them is they don’t ask anything from you. You can interfere with the natural process to help things along or to make something out of what would normally be nothing; but in truth, vegetation in all it’s successes and failures is truly the result of divine intervention. Science plays a big part, doesn’t it? Sure, but the results are divine nevertheless. Plants grow wherever the conditions exist to sustain them. Soil or soilless, wet or dry, sun or shade, rocky or sandy, cool or hot. Whatever they need they get from their surroundings. A stunning magenta wild rose rising up out of a hay field, a pale and delicate lavender orchid growing on the side of a rock, low-growing greenery creeping along the terrain, bright orange daylilies growing along the roadside, a burst of colorful wildflowers bringing a mountainside to life, a tall prickly cactus standing guard in the desert, beautiful seeded grasses waving gracefully in the wind among the native trees in a marsh. It’s a survival of the fittest jungle out there for sure, Nature seems to always finds a way.

As a gardener, I realize what a challenge it is to contain and/or change nature’s predilection. If left alone, our property would be some dirt, some weeds, overgrown grasses, a forest of volunteer elm and maple trees, dandelions, and all the other stuff we try to keep in check. With a backyard garden, there’s a lot of planting, weeding, pulling, transplanting, digging, watering, insect control, soil enhancement and maintenance, watering, fertilizing, raking, mulching, trimming, deadheading, and winterizing going on. It is a wonderful sight at its summer peak. It’s so peaceful to guests sitting among the roses and watching  the birds taking turns at the feeder and drinking at the water fountain, while a bunny hops around in the strawberries, and squirrels chase each other up and down a tree vying for the peanut and corn prizes left out for them. The soothing sound of rippling water from the pond, scores of butterflies land on various flowers and butterfly bushes, while hummingbirds flit in and about poking into the hummingbird vines and feeders.  It’s beautiful.

I, however, am completely insane and can only sit out there for a minute or two at a time. Why? “That bush needs to be trimmed. The Knock-Out roses need to be deadheaded again today. The paver over there seems slightly askew. Oh, wow, that dang grapevine is overgrowing the shed again.  I noticed the pond needs to be scooped for leaves. The water in the birdbaths need more water and the birdfeeders are empty again. Wow that artillery plant is taking over the walking paths. I’m going to need to thin the vinca vine because it’s starting to intrude on the hydrangeas. The fencing around the herb garden looks like it needs to be painted. The arbor needs repair and should be waterproofed. Oh my goodness, would you just look at those gladiolas?! They’re leaning way over and need to be re-staked. It hasn’t rained in days, I need to water everything. I forgot that the hose is leaking. I need to get that fixed. I have a new environmentally friendly concoction for mosquito control I found on the internet that I need to get busy making. Wow, would you look at the magnolia? It’s dropping flowers pretty fast and making a mess over there by the daisies and raspberries.” Oh, yah, it’s nonstop! Nonstop, I tell ya!

Why put up with this madness? It’s obviously not natural. So much work for plants that otherwise wouldn’t be where they are or survive the elements where I put them. It’s certainly a challenge that is totally manufactured by me, the crazy gardener. I have a vision for my beautiful slice of paradise in the middle of a cornfield. It’s a vision that in its toil and trouble tests my ability to make something out of nothing. I have certainly had as many or more failures than successes, but those successes are well worth the effort. Patience as a virtue certainly applies in this scenario. I plant a dormant stick with the hope I’ll see some signs of life from something that won’t even produce flowers or fruit for many years ahead. We won’t even know if it is a success for 4-5 years. What kind of madness is that? It is part of who I am, or at least, who I have become. I can’t imagine our garden not being part of my life. It is really gorgeous, I’ve been told. I think I’ll get a cup of raspberry chocolate truffle coffee and stare out the window at all the leaves I didn’t get raked up during the fall… Sandy


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