Friday, June 3, 2011

In Bloom

Blue centaureas smell fantastic: fresh, fruity, sweet, divine.

Ever since I moved out of my parents' house seven years ago, I have absolutely loved gardening. In spring, as soon as the perennials start popping up from the ground,  I become a rubberneck driver, looking at everyone's gardens as I drive along. I definitely like to get my Dutch green thumbs out there in the garden (all ten of them). Yes, I'm OK at gardening, but I'm kind of clumsy and, I work in a slightly haphazard manner.

If you were to drive by my house, you might see me hopping on one foot, losing my balance as I put my other leg inside a yard waste bag to open it up properly. You might catch me randomly pulling a few weeds and throwing them at either the side of the house (so they are hidden by the bigger weeds that grow there) or under one of our mammoth spruce trees out front. You might see me almost lose my balance and almost fall into the pool as I try to duck under the cedar tree that is bent over the pool right now (windstorm damage - we still need to cut it down). You'd also notice that although I usually start weeding and working with gloves on, I usually pull them off in favour of feeling that good old soil between my fingers. Besides, how on earth do you pull the stubborn weeds with clumsy gloves on? How do you really know the soil is properly packed against a new plant with gloves hampering your sense of touch?

These neon hostas are eye-catching even without blooms.

Very old cedars - very hard to walk around and not fall into the pool.

My parents have a nice yard with beautiful gardens, and unfortunately for me, I use their garden as a benchmark, so my gardens always seem sub-par compared to theirs. I have to remind myself that they have been "tweaking" their gardens for over 15 years...and still find something to improve upon every year. Anyway, this year, I finally consider my garden satisfactory.

I think my plants are finally growing into their surroundings, and I have finally learned to major in perennials with a minor in annuals. If you barrage your beds with high-maintenance annuals, you are in for a lot of work.

All this gardening has got me thinking about the lovely blooms that we are now able to admire. I've started wondering about how I only notice many plants, shrubs and trees when they are [in bloom]. Have you ever noticed that?

Magnolias are breathtaking when they blossom, which is only for about a week in the spring. Their blossoms are like eye magnets--you can't help but notice their beauty--but what happens when the blossoms fall off? Do you notice magnolias anymore? Last year, I actually made a few mental notes of where some local magnolias were (i.e. the brown brick bungalow at the corner of such-and-such a street and such-and-such drive) when they were in blossom, so that I could go back to them once the blossoms fell and see what the tree looked like without them. They're nice, but kind of unremarkable without the pink-and-white blossoms.

What about annabelle hydrangeas? They have huge, white, ball-shaped blooms in late summer. When they start to bloom, I see them everywhere. I think, "I didn't realize so many people had these things!" (Perceptual vigilance, perhaps?) When hydrangeas are just leafy clumps, though, our eyes pass over them.

The last plant I always notice when it's in its prime is the burning bush. OK, its glory isn't in the blooms, but the leaves turn from green to bright red in the fall. All of a sudden, I see those everywhere, too.

Plants are the most visible when they are in bloom.

Snowball bush - I love 'em.

I wondered about this.

No, I am not going to refer to how girls blossom into beautiful young women in their teens. Nor am I going to mention the fact that people really "bloom" or are in their "prime" in their mid-twenties (because why would I bring attention to that? According to that statement, I'm past my prime!)

I do think that people bloom, but unlike plants, who have only outward beauty, we all have inward qualities that make us noticeable and different from the next person. We have gifts, talents and abilities, and once they are put to use, they make us bloom and become the best person we can be.

Thankfully, unlike plants, which only bloom for a little while (especially in regions that have four seasons), we have the ability to be constantly [in bloom]. We all have talents and passions and things we love to do--things we are brilliant at doing--and when we do them, we shine. We bloom. We are appreciated.

Don't let your passions dry up. Don't let your petals fall. They don't have to.


  1. Love it! As you must know by now, this topic is right up my alley (the passion for life part, not the gardening part - lol)! :)

  2. All week the line "major in perennials, minor in annuals" has stuck in my head. lol.

  3. Haha Laura! Every year I add more perennials and subtract more annuals!