In search of story

August 5.20: Coping



Once upon a November, I bought this house. When a gardener buys a house in November, she has a whole winter to wonder what someone else’s garden will bring. As it came to life, I wondered less and pulled more. Out, out, rude roots! After the chaos of resettling, I happily yanked and snipped. Instant gratification. The gardener’s high.

In the throes of this euphoria, I approached a small shaded gravel patch where nothing should have been able to grow, but no one had told the weeds. Then I stopped and stared in a gardener’s disbelief. Four small stems with happy little leaves looked familiar. Snapdragons? Could it be? Snapdragons sprouting in these sunless stones? Tenderly, I eased them up and out, such little things, but so green. I transplanted them into the garden and coddled them neurotically. They grew plump with leaves and buds. They were the shortest snapdragons I’d ever seen, and they bloomed white! I am a fool for white flowers! Oh, what a gardener’s jig I danced!

And, oh, what a harvest of snapdragon seeds followed! And now, two garden seasons later, I have low-lying clouds of white snapdragons, snuggling with parsley, lighting the front-door thyme, wreathing the bay. Even though I have not been able to plant my back yard garden this year, the white snapdragons assure me that beauty will be had, and that I should always look twice at the gravel.



13 thoughts on “August 5.20: Coping

  1. I love this story with a lesson to be learned and beautiful flowers to enjoy and remind you to always keep going. I haven’t planted snapdragons in quite a while, but they always make me smile because I remember my daughter and grands loving to make them talk. Stay well, Maureen, and keep an eye on those beauties.

    • Thanks, Judy! Of course you would understand about snapdragons! They are beautiful AND fun! We had them in the back yard in my mother’s garden, and I too made them talk. Matter of fact, I still make them talk. Yes, I’m all right: the snapdragons talk to me, and I talk to the pork chops.

      • I talk to various creatures and things, but have to remind myself when I’m in a store to not do it. Sometimes I fail, just chuckle at myself, and wonder if anyone in the area has just fired up the video on their phone to send to 911 about the crazy lady in the cereal aisle expressing her disdain to the boxes that they don’t have her particular brand of Cheerios. 🙂

  2. Thank you for the laugh! I can sympathize. However, given how almost everybody goes along in stores talking to invisible others, I think it doesn’t matter if we talk to the cereal or to the asparagus. I am ever thinking someone is talking to me because I’m the only one there, but then I notice weird plastic things in their ears and remember that I’m an anomaly. So if you and the Cheerios need to discuss matters, just stick plastic things in your ears and no one will notice.

  3. My mother has a love of very short snapdragons. She has a small patch by her door that self-seeds each year. This year began with only one healthy looking plant, and she fretted. If I had not been isolating as much as possible, I would have searched garden centers for them, but I didn’t. However, we needn’t have worried. The snapdragons had done their thing and soon seedlings came up in the stones. When I took her to the audiologist Monday, her entire little patch was filled with blooms. She delighted in pointing out the white ones, and the newly opened red ones with white centers. She’d never had those before! The delights of pollination!

    • What a lovely image you conjure up! How wonderful for your mother and you both! I don’t blame her for fretting initially; I would have too. But the snaps came through, and in red and white, no less. It is good to know that there are others enamored of short snapdragons! Thanks, Carolee!

  4. Lovely that these turned up, were spared, cosseted and gave abundant thanks. So lucky that they were white too!

  5. “coddled them neurotically” — well, I’m no gardener, but nodded (and laughed) because I have been a helicopter parent of various transplanted plants and trees. Your coddling was well worth it — those are beautiful flowers, indeed!

    • It seems to me that if you have been a helicopter parent to plants and trees you are indeed a gardener! I agree the coddling was worth it; I love these little blooms!

  6. I love your snapdragon story and the pretty pictures included. Don’t know if you intended the metaphor, but I think looking for beauty among the rocks is good advice indeed. Hope you are doing well.

    • Hi! And thanks! I didn’t intend that metaphor, no, but it’s a good one so I’ll pretend I did. I was thinking more of how I almost missed them because I was programmed for weeds. As for doing well, I think I’m moderately insane but hanging on — how about you?

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