Right behind them, on the east end of our porch, are two window boxes filled with red and white begonias. They're a blue flower away from a patriotic statement, but I've yet to find a blue begonia.
There are euphorbia and knautia (I just like saying their names). I've got a purple cone flower and about fifty feet of canna lilies. They're just poking through the warm soil, but by mid summer, they'll stand five feet tall crowned with giant flowing red blooms.
I've potted a red geranium in a hanging basket next to the garden gate, and along the sidewalk in the back yard, there is a mixture of red begonias (in the sun) and red New Guinea impatiens (in the shade). In the front yard, I potted several gerberas. And, of course, there are a number of petunias in various hues of purple and red.
My most frustrating flowers, though, have been the dahlias. Last year I purchased some incredible dahlias and planted them in the front yard. They loved the southern exposure and bloomed all summer long. I dug up the bulbs and replanted them this spring, but they've been slow to come on. They're just now breaking the surface of the soil. Who knows when they'll begin blooming.
My horticultural endeavors remind me of several truths.
- Not every flower grows at the same pace. Neither do people. I've seen some folks bloom right away. Others take time and patience. Often it is those who take the most time who seem to bloom the longest and brightest - if I'm patient enough to stick around to see it.
- Conditions need to be right. It takes the right plant in the right soil with the right light, moisture, and fertilizer to get the really big blooms. Subtract any one of those ingredients, and the result ranges somewhere between disappointment and failure. I wonder if I am too quick to judge a person's failure to blossom when I really need to pay more attention to where and how they're "planted"?
- Some plants are more fragile than others. My perennials - the knautia, euphorbia, day lily and black-eyed susan - can remain planted through our harsh winters, no problem. But my canna lilies will rot in the ground if I don't get them out by Thanksgiving. They've got to winter over in the basement and be planted again in the spring if I expect a summer color spectacular. Some people are more fragile, too. Perhaps I need to be a more gentle with some folks.
- A world without flowers is a dreary world indeed, and so is a world without people. No wonder God said, "It is not good for man to be alone." He knew we need other folks in our lives to provide color and contrast.
- Set it and forget it only works for Ron Popeil. I can set my Ronco Rotisserie and forget it, but my flowers will need my attention all summer long if they're going to bloom. People need attention, too.