Thursday, April 8, 2010

learning flowers

Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes.
Proverbs 19:2
My friends and I have been reading the book of Proverbs for our LTG these last two weeks, and one of my friends laughingly mentioned the verse above in relation to her family's current (and very first) experience with buying and fixing up a house.
The same applies to me and my gardening. Although I have to say, of all my mistakes, haste has not been the was several years of planning and dreaming and waiting for the money and missing the cut-off date for ordering bulbs and deciding to prepare the beds better by letting them cook under weed barrier cloth all summer to kill all the weeds and planning some more before I finally took the plunge last fall and bought plants to fill the flower beds in front of my house. I have done reading and learning and planning and soaking myself in lovely pictures of flower gardens from Better Homes and Gardens magazines, but I still feel as though I know very little, really, about what it takes to make a beautiful flower garden. Last fall we filled the van with pots of mostly brown, dying plants from a local nursery and I lovingly planted them spaced according to the directions into the prepared dirt. A few were still blooming bursts of color, but mostly it looked like I had filled the space with ugly, dying plants few and far between. I dug holes and put clusters of bulbs in empty spots, and watched as cold weather came and browned the remaining green leaves, and snow came and flattened the stems and leaves as if they had been stepped on, and waited full of hope for spring. They tell me, I've read, been reassured, that spring will bring these lifeless twigs to life again, and in my imagination, the house is adorned by a necklace of pinks and blues and lavender.
Spring is here, and life is evident at the base of nearly all my plants, and the beds pull me towards them like magnets whenever I step outside, and I have to check, peeping at the base of dead brown for sights of fuzzy gray/green shoots, smiling with satisfaction at the green buds unfurling leaves on the wild rose bushes I had transplanted from the edge of my grandfather's field, the ones I had watched turn brown and die in the weeks after the transplant, and with them my expectations of them bearing for me their pretty pink buds in early summer died too. But this spring they surprised me with enthusiastic life, and tulips burst up from underground hybernation, and I watch with fascination the slow, steady changes to all the different types of flowering plants in those beds.
Still the beds aren't much to look at, and I expect every year I'll find things to add and tweak and move around before I really like the way it looks. Most of the plants are ones I haven't actually seen in real life, just read descriptions and saw pictures in books or on the tags in their pots. So I feel as though I am rich in enthusiasm and still very poor in knowledge. But I'm highly optimistic that in...five, maybe ten years I will have a well-loved and familiar flower garden at either side of my front door.

1 comment:

Autumn said...

Sounds fabulous! I feel completely inept at the thought of planning and planting a flower garden myself. One day I will try my hand at it though, and maybe by then I can glean some wise words from you.