Skip to main content

BEACON Senior News

Sowing and growing—there's a season for everything

Jul 01, 2024 03:01PM ● By Rhonda Wray

I woke up one recent sunny Saturday with the thought, I want to buy flowers today.

I watched a YouTube video on container planting, but my mom’s tutoring was surprisingly fresh, though latent: roughing up the roots a little if they’re tightly packed, making a dirt “collar” after the plant is in the ground and placing one tall plant in the middle, several that spread all around it and vines on the perimeter, to hang down over the edge. The YouTube gardener dubbed it “a thriller, fillers and spillers.”

It had been a couple years since I’d done that. The first year I juggled grief after two significant losses with caring for my 3-year-old granddaughter, who was grieving herself. 

I bought the flowers as I usually did. They were all lined up and waiting by the back door, but they devolved into a defeated little army, heads limply hanging down, crispy and lifeless before I had the chance—or the energy—to give their roots a soil home. 

I squandered the money I’d spent on them and felt remorse about that. But my granddaughter’s broken heart needed nurturing, so I tended her instead. We were just trying to heal. No regrets there. 

Last year I traveled, and it seemed easier to skip the process, instead of enlisting someone to come over and water. 

But this year, as I wheeled my cart on the wet concrete dodging puddles, hoses, small children and the occasional dog, I felt a surge of joy. The colors! The possibilities! The people! I revisited many tried-and-true favorites: petunias, spikes, vinca vines. One of my “thrillers” was a “Big Lavender” geranium. Why not? I love the traditional red ones, but I was taken with its fetching shade. 

Armed with my son’s gifts of new gardening tools and gloves, I patted the blossoms into place, anticipating living bouquets all summer. Petals attract pollinators, a vital function. But even if they only existed for their beauty, that would be enough. 

“I’m not really a gardener,” my next-door neighbor recently confessed over the fence. She could have fooled me with the bright blooms bordering her lawn, but I commiserated with her. I too feel like a gardener impersonator sometimes. 

I just try to plant flowers that aren’t easy to kill—either native or forgiving blooms that can withstand Colorado’s dryness and constant sunshine. I check the little tags for “full sun” options. Then I water them every day it doesn’t rain, which is, of course, most of them.

I was raised on home-grown produce. It was organic before anyone used the term much. I balked at weeding the garden, but I savored the harvest—especially the intensely flavored, juicy tomatoes, big as grapefruits. 

I don’t grow food. I wish I did, but I’ll continue to support local growers at farmers markets.

My friend’s mother recently passed, and between the accompanying additional responsibilities and her sadness, she can’t muster enthusiasm for planting this year. Understandable.

The Bible (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) and The Byrds (1965’s “Turn, Turn, Turn”) refer to the dichotomies of life: “A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted…a time to break down, and a time to build up…a time to keep, and a time to throw away.”

When she is ready, there will be a rainbow of vivid annuals standing at attention, posting their colors, awaiting “a time to plant.” 

To everything there is a season.