There are moments in life when it’s best to throw caution to the wind and just see what happens.
I had grown weary of a small patch in our front yard where the grass wouldn’t grow and the weeds would, so one day I pulled out the weeds and added fresh dirt. Next, I moved some old bricks I had saved from decades earlier when our street was torn up and resurfaced. I dug a narrow trench and lined the bricks up for a border.
Now, what to plant? It’s a semi-shady area, and based on the poor luck with grass growing there, I opted for a field trip to a few local nurseries for inspiration. With no specific idea in mind, I walked through the flowers and began touching whatever plants looked pretty.
The only consideration was a glance at the plant’s tag to ensure it didn’t say full sun. Other than that, I selected whatever grabbed my eye. I also checked the sales tables, thinking I could bring some less-than-blooming plants back to life.
I took those various flowers home, randomly planted them in the ground and hoped for the best. In the following days, as I shopped for flowers to fill in the other structured beds, I chose a few more neglected blossoms. Watered, mulched and weeded, the plants seemed to put down real roots. I waited to see how this potential jumble would play out.
Generally, I am a person who likes to think things through, make lists and come up with an idea before I proceed. It is very much out of my comfort zone to forge forward without some kind of plan.
Surprisingly, that hodge-podge, no-real-rhyme-or-reason flower patch has turned into one of my favorite areas ever. The colorful blooms mix together to form a kaleidoscope of color. The smaller flowers nestle under the taller ones that protect and shelter the more fragile. They all share space without looking crowded or confined.
Rather like us. Different kinds of people, all thrown together, making up a family, a household, a community. Alone, we look scraggly and sad. Together, supporting one another, we are beautiful.
We don’t all look alike, act alike or think alike. Yet there can be an underlying commonality to nurture, encourage and live together. Friendship and love can show up when and where we least expect them. Even without a plan, it just happens – if we’re able to let go and allow it.
Such a vast choir of color and diversity, those gardens and people. At this time of year, it’s a real joy to drive through neighborhoods to admire other people’s creativity and blooming spaces. There’s so much beauty flourishing in homes and yards everywhere. Folks sharing extra tomatoes and lilies along with advice about getting rid of ground ivy. We are connecting in more than one way.
Abraham Lincoln knew about sowing connections and hope. “I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.”
The epitome of hope for all of us is believing that what we plant will grow.
Even when we haven’t got a real plan.
• Karen Roth is a semiretired librarian/educator living in Ottawa. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.