One of my favorite parts of spring is walking the property looking for signs of life: which plants have returned, and which ones…sadly…did not. There always seems to be a surprise, usually in the form of a plant that wasn’t;t supposed to survive the winter but did anyway.
In the fall, we had about, I don’t know, two weeks of predictably decent weather left, and I, in the midst of the Artist’s Way program, had splurged on buying some pretty flowers just because. I wasn’t thinking about frugal or practical. I had some cash, the time to buy and plant, and the desire to fill what was left of my fall with flowers. It didn’t matter to me that I would probably only be able to enjoy them for a week or two.
I am happy to report that of those splurge plants, every single dianthus survived the winter. Not only are they now blooming, but they are giant, green and beautiful. That is a gift! I got very excited: who else survived the winter? I found a handful of other plants (including some snapdragons and a foxglove) that also managed to make it through. My plants are like friends: some are in it for the season, some for the long haul. Some are permanent, some come and go.
There is still a ton more gardening work to be done on this property, but it is so wildly invigorating to see old friends and to walk alongside those who have struggled and survived. I hate to evict anyone, but there is always something that’s outgrown the space it’s in (or the previous landscapers made short-sighted choices). Bringing home a new plant is like inviting in a new member of the community. We have to find the right fit, the right grouping, the right light and drainage. Everyone’s needs must be met, and holistically – what’s best for the whole as well as the individual.
Alexander den Meijer said, “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” As someone who has gotten out of several toxic environments and tends to be rather hard on myself, this statement is refreshing. It also brings with it a whole string of gratitude for finding the right environment for me. I am already beginning to see some pretty spectacular blooms.