Saturday, July 05, 2003

A little lesson from Mother Nature

Gardening is another of my hobbies. Not vegetable gardening, although I have a couple of tomato plants going. My interest lies in flowers and non-edibles. The front yard goes through constant changes as I yank plants out, put new ones in, and move others here and there. It's like painting with life, because every day the pallette is different.

Now my back yard is another story. There, the word isn't 'gardening', it's 'landscaping'. Even when money is tight, physical labor is free - and good for the soul. My backyard is also where I experiment with new plants.

Patience is something you have to have plenty of when you garden, because very little happens quickly. I was reminded of that last week.

About three months ago I bought a bag of assorted Caladium bulbs for a couple of shady spots in the backyard. I planted them and after several weeks of nothing, wrote them off.

Last week I was out doing some weeding and saw a weird spike coming out of the ground in the bed around the tree. Not knowing what it was, I let it be until I could tell for sure whether it was something I wanted to keep or not. The next day there was a beautiful 4" long leaf in place of the spike, and a couple other spikes poking through the soil. Pretty nifty I thought, and then was stunned when I saw three more separate Caladium's leafing out in another bed. I had no idea these things took that long to get going!

Now that they are sprouting, they're taking off like crazy. There are six plants (out of ten, so far) of at least three varieties that I can tell so far, and they're interesting and different, making a nice contrast to the plants around them. It's been a pleasant surprise and a nice little gift after all this damn rain we've been getting.