Being a gardener and intense flower lover (hence the ‘Flowers’ part of this blog title), I notice plantings everywhere we go. Just riding down the streets, headed to buy groceries, since I’m not usually driving, I look at the front areas of each house. I see the flowering trees. I see the beautifully potted blooming plants that flank some doorways. I see carefully tended lawns and carefully pruned hedges. I see interesting arrangements of plants that would not have occurred to me and that I both appreciate and envy.
But then I see the others, too. The lawns full of unmowed weeds. The completely barren fronts with not even one little shrub to soften the transition between ground and house, or maybe only one sad survivor. And I wonder if perhaps the insides of those houses with the barren front areas and even the lives of those who live there are as spare and bare and empty-seeming as the outsides. Our choices not only reflect who we are, but also whatever we are dealing with at any given time, small children, busy schedules, illness, so we must spare concern for the barren front gardens.
You can be fools, as we are, and work as we have done for the last two days, to finish out our mailbox planting, encountering unexpected roots and rocks and working far harder than we intended, in order to plant a hawthorn which has flourished in a pot for the last three years while we figured out where to put it, and which now looks as if it is about to bloom. Or if you can, you may put just a pot of something evergreen such as boxwood or even something as tough as ligustrum near the door, if you want to pass up blooming plants.
But the appreciation we have is inexpressible for those who plant the shrubs and flowering trees, who mow their lawns and water their plantings in drought, or who at the very least place a pot or two of geraniums or ivy by their doorway in welcome. They do it for the strangers who drive by as well as for themselves. And I hope that the lives of those who make these gestures, not solely for themselves but for unknown folks such as we, are as enriched inside their homes, as we are, just passing by.