Lesson of the All-Year Flower

Flowers planted in pots die a long, slow death in the desert. Basil, violets, zinnias, even marigolds have crisped up in pots–even the ones that aren’t clay and don’t hold heat.

bloomsUntil last summer. I planted a Lisianthus–tough gray-green leaves, and big, multi-petaled blossoms. With no idea what the flowers looked like, I waited for the first buds with anticipation, the gardener’s companion.  The first blossoms opened in a pale parchment color. Nice. The next day, the same blossom was pink, the next dusty rose, then darker parchment, then pale, then it crinkled up.

Damn. That’s impressive. Each blossom does this. It starts out as one color, morphs through several delicate, antique shades, and wrinkles into a deep kraft-bag color.

Through June, July, and August, when everything else (except the lantana) dies of heat exhaustion, the Lisianthus stayed. Thrived. Then, in August, it began to die back. I trimmed the stems and noticed new growth. And here, in December, it is happily blooming again.

No one says that one color of the development is “better” than the other. They are all glorious. Every stage of life has its advantages and disadvantages, whether you are a flower or a person. You couldn’t pay me to go through high school again. I’m not as flexible physically as I was then, but my heart is flexible and will grow where planted–and I’m grateful.

The Lisianthus is tough. It has outlasted the roses of Spring, the cosmos of Summer and the chrysanthemums of Autumn. It is beautiful in every season because it is generous with its blossoms and makes the most of the space where it grows. Delicate and tough, generous and making the most of where you are. Good words for 2014, if you haven’t chosen one yet.

–Quinn McDonald had an odd word come to her in a dream. Nothing else is standing up for notice. She may yet embrace the odd word for 2014.