O Lord, Your infinite mind has designed an infinite number of beautiful things, but surely, peonies must near the top of your lovely list. OMG, thank You that while our politicians don’t always get it right, they were smart enough to name it Indiana’s state flower!
Whether wide open, singing to a glorious, sunny sky or pursing lip-petals in a demure pout, tulips are delightful harbingers of spring.
Only in others’ yards.
My tulips, the teenagers of the flower world, refuse to get out of bed. I sacrificed knees and back to lavish exotic foods on them. Yet, they only lift a limp leaf or two.
Bloom? Too much trouble. Besides, why should they be bound by my expectations?
Each spring, I waited again. Again.
“Hey,” I yelled, “you’re supposed to be perennials!”
I stumbled over a “Do Not Disturb” sign erected by the tulip that had drawn the short straw.
One greenhouse declared tulips will faithfully bloom every spring … if I relocate to the Turkish Himalayas foothills. The fussy lovelies crave their native habitat’s hot, dry summers and extreme winters. Dutch growers have devoted 400 years to discovering ways to imitate these conditions. They have learned, as Mary Beth Breckenridge in the Chicago Tribune once suggested, to “think like a bulb.”
With all due respect to the Netherlands, I’d rather retain IQ points, thank you very much.
Only once have my tulips bloomed more than one season. Even then, contrary red ones, planted to border pink tulips, bloomed two weeks early. They formed a lovely circle … around dirt.
At least, the tardy pink tulips created a clump of color. For two days. Then, strong winds blew them flat.
Still, hopelessly in love with gardeners’ photos, I again fertilized and hoed. On my knees, I planted more bulbs.
The next morning, I peered outside at my perfect flower bed … only to meet squirrels’ chittery scorn. My efforts had supplied a Golden Corral buffet for little thieves.
Something inside me snapped. I dashed outside, yelling and swinging a hoe like a Mr. McGregor samurai. “Hi-yah!”
The squirrels escaped unhurt, laughing.
Rush hour drivers zooming past also enjoyed the show.
Why did they laugh? Just because I still wore my nightgown …
Once, though, I outwitted the squirrels, planting bulbs in a different bed. The following spring, these bloomed in glorious display.
For two days. Then deer devoured every last one.
Will I ever tiptoe through my own tulips?
When I talk Hubby into moving to the Himalayas.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Do your tulips bloom every year?
Jesus, You gave these crazy little crocuses such courage! They refuse to let dead stuff from the past, a risky present, or a sure end smother their daring color. With only Your promise of rebirth, they flaunt joy. OMG, if that’s madness, please make me crazy, too!
O Lord, nothing looked deader than the brown, shriveled seeds I planted last spring. But You breathed Your life into them, and now, a hundred colorful reminders of Your Resurrection dance for joy in the west wind. OMG, to think that You can do the same for us, if we let You. Alleluia!
Near our yard’s edges, orange lilies accentuate the breathtaking beauty of street signs: speed limit, street name, even dead end.
Surely no one deliberately planted flowers of such pathetic pedigree. These gangly commoners share none of the refinement of day lilies, their aristocratic cousins.
Whoever nurtured mine did not stop with signs. She/he invited them to surround the patio, where an army of orange sentinels stand at attention. Neither horizontal rain, windstorm, nor hail beat them down. Nothing short of a nuclear blast prevents their annual return.
I know this because their anonymous planter also nurtured them around our mailbox — until my husband, replacing it, obliterated the lily bulbs.
Undaunted, the invaders returned, only to be mowed down again and again. And again.
Stubborn? Worse than a gang of telemarketers.
Why, then, did I transfer orange lily shoots to a spot near our front door?
Um … maybe the gardener who introduced the lilies wasn’t so dumb. Perhaps, like me, she/he was desperate. I had nicknamed that flower bed the “Sahara.”
Morning glories, petunias, zinnias, marigolds — none of my usual stalwarts had survived it. Would I have to comb the Internet for Martian cacti?
Instead, I planted lily shoots. Three days later, they had not shriveled.
Gasp! What had I done?
Yet, I could not yank them. I just … kind of forgot to water them.
Finally, the hopeful sprigs disintegrated into yellow July dust. I could forget my embarrassing temporary insanity.
Until the following March. Tiny, green leaves stuck out, na-na-na-boo-boo tongues that grew into spindly plants.
How could I pull them? They have flourished unpampered.
I rarely talk to the lilies. Other plants do not socialize with them. We all fear they will take over the yard — maybe the world.
Though I wouldn’t mind if they conquered the crabgrass.
Vases chock full of lilies do brighten my mantels. My dining room table. My piano. …
All right, so my deep, dark secret is out.
I have plebian tastes. I like orange lilies.
These flowers scorn Better Homes and Gardens ratings. They grow in vacant lots, parking lots, behind Big Lots. Their determination to cover their world with beauty knows no limits.
I must have passed down my plebian tastes to a daughter. Scorning roses for her senior picture, she held a cluster of orange lilies.
Funny, her people bouquets consist of the unsung, too. She gathers needy children, cherishing beauty bypassed by others. Maybe the wealth of orange lilies edging her fence inspire her days.
As mine should.
Anyone blessed with orange-lilyfied street signs — even a dead-end one — is bound to see her world in a beautiful way.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What “plebian” flowers do you like?
O Lord, Thank You for our garden’s superior squash production —I think. Anticipating dead-in-the-night porch gifts to unsuspecting friends and neighbors, I wonder how Adam and Eve coped with Eden’s abundance. OMG, maybe in that perfect garden, squash grew and ripened one at a time?
O Lord, Thank You for the means to buy, for strength to plant and grow the beautiful shrubs and flowers You designed. But given our aching backs, muscles, and bank balance, sometimes we wonder: Is creating curb appeal for Bambi worth it?