Still Growing Strong

We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival. ~Winston Churchill, British statesman and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

We all complain sometimes about our circumstances.

Things don’t go according to plan. People don’t act the way we think they should. We build up our hopes for something, yet it doesn’t come through.

I wonder if plants ever feel that way.

Does one flower fret it’s not as “pretty” as another? Do trees agonize over not being as tall or full as other trees?

Somehow I doubt it.

Take these wildflowers, for instance:

Click for more detail

They could’ve complained I didn’t do a professional job of preparing the soil for their seeds. Didn’t water them adequately. Didn’t put them in the right place for beneficial sunlight.

But they’re growing — and might I say, thriving? — in spite of it.

There are Marigolds, Zinnias, and some kind of Daisy. I haven’t identified the others yet, but if you know, feel free to share.

I never really expected them to spring up. I’ve planted seeds before, but nothing resulted.

And these seeds were packaged for last year, the year of COVID, when I had nothing but time on my hands to plant and tend them.

Why did I wait? Who knows.

And look at my little tree:

Click to enlarge

You’ll recall it sprang up seemingly out of nowhere a year or so ago.

If I’d been choosing, I’d have selected a “better” location for it — not beneath a TV antenna that probably should’ve been removed ages ago.

Nor smack dab in landscaping rocks.

But it, too, seems to be flourishing. It’s taller and fuller than before — almost 17 inches high now — and if you look closely, you can still see the tiny red yarn I wrapped around its “neck” last year as the weather turned cooler!

Recently, I asked our yard man what kind of plant it was. Using an app on his phone, he proclaimed it an Eastern Juniper (AKA red cedar), a long-lived species that grows in North America from southeastern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and west to the Great Plains.

Maybe we (and our plants) would prefer different living conditions than the ones we have, but perfection isn’t always necessary for success.

What do you think?

19 thoughts on “Still Growing Strong

  1. A good word for these times Debbie! We also have a little tree that has sprung into glorious shape – and my brother almost rooted is out years ago! Here’s to the grace to thrive in trying times! 🌿🤗🌿

  2. What a fun experience — and look at that little tree! Is there any chance to transplant it, or is that spot ok? I have a feeling it’s decided it’s ready to take off, and become a proper tree. It’s amazing that it’s grown so much. As for your flowers, there’s such a thing as benign neglect, and besides that, there are some flowers that do better in less than perfect conditions. I’ve seen some of my favorite wildflowers pushing up through asphalt at the side of the road. When they decide to grow, they grow!

    • Linda, the spot my tree is in is less-than-ideal, but I’m not comfortable transplanting it. Too often, I’ve found, plants moved against their will just don’t do well. I think it’s a case of what you aptly called ‘benign neglect,’ a term I happen to love! We all know weeds can (and do) spring up whenever and wherever they choose, without regard for our “help,” right?!

  3. LOVED this post, Debbie!

    And I totally agree with you, plants don’t agonize over things like that because I don’t think they “compare” as humans do. Nature in general has a wonderful way of acceptance for “what is.” They also have incredible resilience. Like you said, they thrive in spite of anything. They know how to adapt. That’s why I like spending time in nature because it teaches me so many things.

    “Maybe we (and our plants) would prefer different living conditions than the ones we have, but perfection isn’t always necessary for success.”

    EXACTLY! And really, what is perfection anyway? I think it’s an ideal.

    Great post, my friend! Beeeeautiful photos!

    Have a terrific week! X

    • Nature can teach us a lot about resilience, can’t she, Ron? Being able to adapt — regardless of what comes your way — seems like a wonderful attribute to me. And so is refusing to succumb to comparing oneself to others. There always will be somebody prettier, smarter, richer, thinner, or whatever.

      Thanks for stopping by with your lovely comments. Have a superb week (aren’t you getting some cooler weather finally?!?) xx

  4. I think if we wait for perfection, then we will wait until those proverbial cows to come home. However, there are some conditions that are so harsh that it is impossible—or nearly impossible—for anything to flourish. That is the condition we wish to avoid.

    • Laurie, perhaps “balance’ is what we’re all looking for? With gardening, we can’t totally hover over our plants and trees, nor can we ignore them completely. Part of me is still fretting over this “tiny” tree, though. I just don’t think this is a good spot for something that could grow awfully tall; however, time will tell. Maybe it’ll decide it wants to be a little bush, ha!

  5. So nice to know the identity of your little Eastern Juniper! It looks very happy. 🙂 I agree with you, I’ve always thought the different plants are great metaphors for the diversity found in people. They all need particular amounts of sunshine, humidity, water, and temperatures in order to thrive. We humans all have different things we need to thrive. But sometimes plants or people can survive in spite of less than ideal conditions. Flora and fauna and humans are remarkably resilient, thank goodness. May your wildflowers and little juniper keep growing strong!

    • Thanks, Barbara, for your kind wishes. I, too, hope they’ll continue growing. I’m not sure if any of the wildflowers are perennials, but if so, maybe they’ll come back next year. As for the tree, I’m surprised at how fast it’s shot up this summer. It was just a tiny thing last year — maybe hitting it with a bit of fertilizer did the trick!

    • I’m afraid my tree is still too tiny for a bird’s nest, but I’ll bet it has hopes for one day! I haven’t seen any berries on it either, but it’s probably too young for that. But thank you, Eliza, for the info, and I’ll keep tending it with hope.

  6. I agree! We could all learn a thing or two from plants. Personally, I’m always impressed by the weeds I see sprouting up from cracks in the asphalt. Talk about having the will to live and thrive!

    • Oh, Ann, those weeds are impressive! We’ve had a LOT of rain lately, and it’s taking all the effort yard guys can muster to keep up with them. Thanks for dropping by!

  7. If only we were as accepting of the conditions as plants. Surely we would be more adaptable, hardy and at peace with our place in the world.

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