Springtime is always my favorite part of the gardening season here in Nebraska. After a cold winter, the brown grass starts to show green, the early spring flowers come up and bloom, sometimes through snow cover, and I find myself neglecting all inside housework as often as possible, so I can be outside working in the dirt.
The perennial flower beds usually require the most work, even though the reason I have perennial beds is so I don't have to plant them new each spring. The thing I love about perennials, besides the fact that they come up year after year, is that they spread. You can plant a little 2.5" potted perennial this year, and next year it will be a nice little clump. In 2 years, you'll probably end up with a clump that you could take divisions off of and plant elsewhere or, my favorite thing, give to friends. Every so often, I walk past a house here in town where we used to live, and the new owner has maintained the perennial beds that I started 15 years ago. It makes me smile and brings back so many memories of working in that yard, with my little boys around me. Memory lane.
This spring, I realized it was time to let my oldest son graduate from our home school. I don't know how the time just passed me by, but here he was, 18 years old, and ready to spread his wings. I recalled how a lot of people spend oodles of money and time doing all the things they have been wanting to do to their house to get ready for graduation. Well, I decided, with the number of people we might have who would come celebrate, an outside party would be more fun. Besides, I've always preferred cleaning in the yard to cleaning house!
So I spent several weeks working outside, in my yard. Instead of spending the money decorating and fixing up the inside, I fixed up the outside. I bought trees and bushes to fill in 2 large beds around our new addition. I bought a few new perennials. But the bulk of my time was in digging out overgrown perennials, dividing, sharing, moving plants that weren't doing as well in one location and moving others that were doing so well, I wanted to see how they would grow in part shade or more sun.
It's gratifying work, but exhausting as well. Probably more exhausting because I don't know how to tell myself to stop when I work outside. I'll keep going until it gets too dark to see what I'm doing.
In one of the beds, I had some huge clumps of lilies and sedum. It was getting kind of late in the spring, mid to late May, to be moving any more plants and it had been super hot and dry for May. I'll move plants in July if we have several rainy days, but to move them during a dry spell and when the temps are high, is really risky because sometimes the shock is just too much for the plant and no matter how much you water, it dies.
I was almost done moving plants, when I dug up these fully leafed out lilies. It really would have been wiser for me to leave them to bloom, then move them. But, I was in a mode. I wanted to get the beds refurbished. So I set the clumps in my yellow handled wheelbarrow. I'm proud of that old wheelbarrow. I bought it at a garage sale when we moved into our first house here in Milford, for 50 cents. I've had it about 18 years now and it still has the crack in it that prompted the seller to put it on his garage sale. Back to the lily…I know I should have just taken the lily over to an empty bed and planted it right then and there. But I was tired. I had been working day in, day out. And I knew that lilies tend to be a little hardier, so I left it in the wheelbarrow overnight.
About a week later, I needed to use the wheelbarrow, and there was that clump of lily plants and some sedum as well. Well, it was still alive, so I took it into the back yard and set it on top of a dry, hard grassy patch in a new bed I had intended to plant later. I gave it some water. And it sat there..for weeks. Every time I would look at it across the yard, I would tell myself…'I really ought to just go dig some holes, divide that lily, and plant it before it dies.'
We've had a hot, dry summer. We've taken 2 vacations in June and July. The last week we were gone, the daytime temperature was in the 100s and there wasn't a drop of rain all week. My mom watered my potted plants for me. I told her not to worry about the beds. The hardy stuff would survive.
When we got home Sunday night, the first thing I did was walk around my yard with watering hose in hand, and survey the grass and flower beds. And across the yard, this bright flash or orange caught my eye.
There, with some of the leaves turning brown, was that big clump of lilies that I had set on the hard, dry ground and it was blooming. I mean, the most beautiful blooms that I can remember on that particular lily. I took the hose over and gave it a drink. And I stood there marveling at it's beauty. There were other flowers that I had planted, that had been watered and tended, cared for diligently, that were looking kind of wimpy. But here was this lily, blooming.
And it made me think about people wiser than me, telling me to bloom where I was planted. If I didn't like a situation, be the best me in that situation that I could be. If I came upon hardship, resistance, dry spells; grow and become more beautiful inside instead of whining that life is treating me poorly, that I wasn't put in the right place.
There are times when I feel like I was dumped out of a wheelbarrow and left to figure it out myself. And I'm sure there will be more times like that ahead. Which is why I took the picture of this lily right after I gave it some water. I wanted to have a visual to remember, that no matter where I am, I can still shine.
Bloom where you are planted is a bit cliche, I know. How about we take a lesson from Nike..and