Photo from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/milefty/
Last year I planted a TON of bulbs. Spring-time flowers are some of my favorites – with tulips, hyacinths and daffodils at the top of my list. I ordered them online, I picked them up at Home Depot, and I searched through the boxes of bulbs at the local nursery. Pretty much anywhere I could find them, I got them. Of course, buying them is a lot easier than planting them. That seems to be where my ambition wanes. Last year I also bought phlox… a live plant (kind of) that came through the mail. By the time I actually got around to planting it, it was dead. Bulbs are little hardier, but you still have to actually plant them in order to get them to bloom.
One bright Friday last fall I went out and planted all of them. I laid a fleece blanket on the ground so Little One would have a place to roll around, and I dug up the little bed surrounding a tree in my backyard. I planted a massive amount of hyacinths and tulips in the bed. I would have put them in the other bed that was out back as well, but when I stuck my hand shovel into the mulch I was appalled to see that a small universe of ants had made that bed their home, so I threw the shovel and abandoned the idea. I can’t deal with ant-nests. I let my darling hubby tackle that one for me.
In the front yard, I bought mums to plant at the same time. Mums are – theoretically – perennial and therefore, should come back year after year. So I tried to plant these starategically where they would be in the perfect spot to return next year. Taking advantage of the holes dug for the mums, I planted approximately fifty pale pink tulips. My goal was to have the spring-time look be soft pastels (whites, lavenders and pinks) and then when my summer flowers came in they would be bright (vivid blues, reds and yellows). About two weeks ago, my flowers started coming up. The ones in the back were gorgeous as they slowly filled in the bed. When the first pink and purple hyacinths bloomed, I was ecstatic and ran out to clip some for a bouquet.
In the front, however, it was a different story. For starters, we apparently gained some boarders over the winter who are called voles. Not moles, VOLES. I have no idea how we got so lucky as to have these naughty little beasts but they leave dark little holes all over my yard. They also leave dark long tracks in the yard that look suspiciously like a snake (this didn’t sit well with me either). Upon further research into these little freeloaders, I discovered that they like to tunnel underneath garden beds so that they can eat all the plant roots. This would include my tulip bulbs. Therefore, when the tulips started coming up, iIwas initially heartbroken at seeing only four or five. I was certain the little vermin had eatne all the rest. Slowly but surely, however, other shoots began to appear.
And then there was the hail storm of all hail storms. The one which caused thousands and thousands of dollars worth of damage to our home, and you can imagine what this did to my tender just-arriving flowers. It looked like a Clydesdale had danced through the flower bed. I trudged through it and picked up the remnants of my shutters and shingle pieces that had scattered throughout the flower bed during the storm. I decided I was just really going to have give up on my hopes of tulips in the front yard, and just be thankful for the pretty hyacinths out back. And then!! This week the tulips regained their power, shooting up triumphantly.
Last night, as I pulled into my driveway, I was so excited to see them in bloom. I got out of the car to check them out and lo and behold… they weren’t my pretty pastel pink tulips that I had planned out and pictured a field of in my head. Oh no. These were BIG, FAT, yellow and orangish tulips with black at the base of them. WHAT?!! These weren’t what I bought!! I had picked out beautiful, slender pink ones!! I had planted pastels intentionally with a plan in my head of what the front of my home would look like. Ginormous orange and yellow honey-bee tulips were NOT part of that picture.
And then this morning, while driving to work, something occurred to me.
I had seen tulips just like those now growing in my front flower bed… many, many years before in my mother’s flower bed. In the front of the house, under the windows grew red/black and yellow/black tulips. Some grew just beneath my bedroom window. If my mom hadn’t chosen those very tulips, I may never have grown to even like tulips at all. So this whole not-pink tulip situation could actually be a little reminder of childhood, of home. I could continue to be annoyed that they aren’t the color or style I wanted, and dig them all up in a few weeks. Or, I could choose to appreciate them for their individual beauty, for the memories they bring. Memories like playing with my fairy dolls in the flowers, or searching through them for a haphazardly thrown rubber jack ball, or even better, picking them for my mom as a little girl.
It’s all in how you look at it. I don’t think that having one’s roof demolished, windows cracked, doors dented and shutters ripped to shreds is exactly a gift either, but it DOES mean that we get to paint our house a new color and we get a brand new roof. I just need to adjust my perspective; tilt my glass so I can see the light reflecting through it instead of the residue on the glass. Perhaps I will decide that orange and yellow go better with the new paint scheme I’m picking than pink would have anyway. Either way, it’s all good.
Have a wonderful night, dear friends.