Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Every year I face the dilemma of what to do with the planting area at the base of my driveway.  The brick enclosure is so perfectly situated and sized for flowers, it would be a shame to leave it empty.  That's not to say I've always filled it -- a year or two it sat fallow.  In those times, my only achievement was keeping the weeds trimmed back.  Sometimes, minimal maintenance is the best you can do.

This year, I took a radically different approach:  I grew flowers from seeds.  Starting with repurposed egg crates in the living room window, I carefully planted and tended some seeds I discovered in a drawer -- because, apparently, I am the sort of person who's likely to have random seed packets just lying about(?!?).  The forget-me-nots grew very slowly and deliberately...they needed a lot of care and encouragement.  Planting them outside so that they could take root and flourish was an exciting moment.

Then I came across some teddy-bear sunflower seeds and, since the forget-me-nots hadn't quite taken up all the space in the planter, I decided to give them a try.  The sunflowers sprouted fast and grew quickly.  I was able to transplant them in a fraction of the time it had taken the others.  In a matter of weeks, they had grown strong and sturdy, with bright showy flowers that make the patient, steady forget-me-nots seem pale and spindly.

And so, as I've considered what to do about the planter next year, the temptation is to forgo the tiny buds of the forget-me-nots altogether and turn my full attention to the sunflowers.  I could easily plant the whole container with them and revel in the fact that a thing of beauty grew so effortlessly.

But then, I catch sight of the striking blue color of the forget-me-nots...quietly, patiently, subtly contrasting the newly-grown sea of yellow with punctuations of blue.  It's hard to choose.

These two flowers are competing for my attention, each in their own way.  I've grown more accustomed to the forget-me-nots, so I sometimes forget to notice how intensely gorgeous their tiny blue buds are.  The fuzzy yellow sunflowers are impossible to overlook...and I don't really want to.  I heard recently that given the choice between two equally desirable alternatives, one should first look for a way to do both.  My little planter is big enough for both of these flowers and they compliment each other beautifully.  

I'm really not inclined to choose.  Maybe I can learn a thing or two from the sunflowers.  Maybe with the right amount of tending (and probably some fresher seeds that I didn't find in a drawer), I can help next year's forget-me-nots to flourish even more than these are now.  And it's clear that the sunflowers are happy in this spot, so why not keep them around?  Maybe, if I carefully tend to both, there won't be any competition at all.

1 comment:

MBF said...

:) Cute...don't forget about the forget-me-nots! Beautiful photos, btw!