Sunflowers

 

There is no friend like the old friend, who has shared our morning days,
No greeting like his welcome, no homage like his praise:
Fame is the scentless sunflower, with gaudy crown of gold;
But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold.

 

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Sunflowers draw their energy and warmth from the sun. That one fact prevents us from growing them on our property. Living in a shady, forested mini-wood has its drawbacks.

Yet, sunflowers bring cheer, energy, brightness, and good feelings whether growing in your yard or neighboring field, or in a vase on a table in your living room or on your deck.

Although they can’t speak aloud to us, their message is one of friendship and good feelings. Odd that man is incapable, even with his wide vocabulary, of extending kindness to those around him.

We could take a lesson from the sunflower as she exudes grace and acceptance of the world around her. She allows chipmunks, squirrels, bees, and others to feast at her center filled with seeds and pollen.

And where does she find what she needs for tomorrow and the next day? She spends her days tracking the sun to warm herself and attract pollinators. In the morning, she is positioned to face the sun as it rises to prepare herself for another day of work, or is it pleasure? I doubt we’ll ever know.

Super Size It!

We all are familiar with the “super size it” menus of our fast food restaurants. We never dreamed we could have a plant in our overly shaded yard “supersize” itself.
 
Like seasons passed, Bob chastised himself for not nurturing our hydrangeas. You know–working the ground around them. Then addingi protection with manure, peat, other types of nutrients and wood chips. This past fall was no different, but as always, we plodded on and promised ourselves they’d do alright.
 
Then it came time to prune. I wasn’t able to help so Bob undertook the pruning. I dug out my instructions from a long-ago gardening magazine article. We watched and watched and watched from our family room window. Nothing new seemed to be appearing on their branches. 
 
Finally, leaves began to appear just when they should. And our watch began for flower buds. Impatient like we were earlier, we waited and waited. They too appeared in God’s own timing.
 
Next in line was the opening of those buds. Slowly they opened their petals. Our long wait was over. And they kept coming.
 
Two days ago I walked into the dining area, and let out a gasp! It was the largest hydrangea blossom I’d ever seen, and now you can see it above. The image doesn’t do it justice. This particular hydrangea outdid itself and most of our others.
 
Oh, we of little faith in God’s wonders.