Bloom Where You Are Planted

I took a morning stroll around my house this morning to check out the plant life. Sprawling climbing rose that needs pruning, check. Raspberry canes, pint-sized due to some sadistic trimming last fall, check. Strawberry leaves and blossoms carpeting the raised beds, check. Day lilies threatening the struggling columbine in the newest flower bed (can’t we all get along?) check.

A few years ago, in the fall, I had to uproot a bunch of iris bulbs I had planted around a tree in my front yard. They were impractical for mowing. I replanted a bunch in a shade garden behind my house, unsure if they would make it without sun, but hopeful. I had a bunch left over and I was tired. It seemed wrong to throw them into the garbage and I didn’t have a compost system set up (still don’t-still thinking about it) so I threw them onto a dirt patch where even the weeds weren’t very enthusiastic, up against the house.  No planting, no top side up, just heaved  like yard clippings into the corner. Look what they did:

When I was a kid, somebody in my house, my mother or my big sister, had a poster or framed picture of a flower and the words, “Bloom Where You Are Planted.”  Whoever wrote that must have been thinking irises. These  plants don’t let anything bad in–no weeds, no garbage blowing around the yard, no harsh opinions about whether they are valuable enough to be planted properly. Can you just decide to be an iris? I’ve known people who are and who aren’t. Some wilt, wanting what they haven’t got, others say, Hey, this could work! Actually, that isn’t true; the non-irises I am thinking of go on just as strong as they would if they were planted where they wanted to be, but they do it in a noxious funk. The irises in my yard aren’t aromatic, but they make the world prettier, they nourish bees and butterflies, they grow and reproduce. You feel better being around them. There are worse ways to handle a world that is sometimes inhospitable. Today, I will be an iris.

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