Blooming Blossoms

When I was little, my mom and I would work in our gardens together – I’m not sure how much I really helped in the beginning, but I’m sure I was dirty and having a great time, knowing the little plants or littler seeds would soon grow and bud out and bloom all summer. Sometimes we planted vegetables too and watered and watered and watered, checking to see if the tomatoes and peppers were ready to pick. I’ve never been able to eat fresh, raw tomatoes, but growing them is its own reward! After the plants were blooming fully, usually on a Sunday so I’d still be dressed up for church, my mom would have me stand next to a particular patch of daffodils or irises or petunias or pansies and take photos. I look at some of the prints of 4 year old me and first think, What an adorable little blonde kid, What happened?! Then I focus on the yellows, purples, whites, and pinks and know I was part of another spring/summer of His miracles.

“To plant a garden is to believe in miracles.” I had a sign like that once, but it was poorly made and the front design peeled off the sturdier backing. I’d like to someday find a replacement or commission one to be made. In the meantime, I’ve grown into an adult who – after a long multi-decades break – is again excited to each spring, find my gardening gloves, grab my packets of seeds, choose my 4 packs of greenhouse-nursed established seedlings, inspect my heavy bags of garden soil, and GET DIRTY!

I’ve attempted growing flowers from seed several years, with varied success. I got 1 four o’clock out of 12 to survive until fall, blooming white (at 9 pm of course). I coaxed 3 hollyhocks out of 12 to live over the winter and rise to towering heights and multiple blooms, all different shades of pinks. Not to mention the sunflowers I planted in the backyard, then fertilized the heck out of until they literally towered over ME. Now that was a green thumb.

In my first spring in my new house, just this year, I had to wait to see what bulbs and perennials the former residents had going on before digging about in the beds wrapping the house. Then I made plans for gladiolus in a bed by the corner where two streets meet (share the beauty with the neighbors!). That one was all thick grass and weeds when I started, even though it was bounded by special bricks to set it off from the yard proper. My mom and I made a trip over to a fancier greenhouse to find some unusual “we love the sun” border flowers. Seem to have scored with “peachy keen” Superbenas and “falling star” white Pentas. Next I added more pinks (Dianthus) to the bed around the mailbox pole. 1 pink had survived a transplant from the old house, the winter, and a tree felling beside it (its sibling was not so lucky on that last trial). Most recently, I bought a tray of Begonias at rock bottom sale prices to populate a few of my deck and porch planters. Even some of those have a difficult time staying among the living, but I’m not throwing out the stragglers until all hope is lost.

I won some packets of seeds as part of a silent auction, so I started them on the window sill in April (late, I know). I now have some baby Marigolds in pots, strengthening their roots and stems to be able to survive in the July heat that’s coming. My Zinnias sprouted in record time so I planted the youngsters in a rectangular planter bracketed to the deck railing, right before a dry heat wave – several of them hung on and I planted a few more seeds directly outside (in the same planter to fill out the space) so that they would sprout hardier. Fingers still crossed. The silent auction Alyssum and Aster failed to launch. (Boo!)

I spend plenty of early mornings and after-suppers schlepping water from the back spigot in a bucket (who only has a back spigot when they have thirsty plants all around their home plus a fence?!), but it’s worth it. My flowers are pretty. They are miracles. And I will do it again next spring!

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