The subject comes around from time to time
Usually when I travel.
I’d define it as wanting to grow things
That just won’t grow where you live.
There’s a reason for USDA Hardiness zones.
It’s hard to grow palm trees in much of the world!
My flower envy began young.
As a nine-year old my family traveled to Maui
My father had been stationed there during WWII
The Marines would leave the safety of Maui for places
Like Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima.
But he had a love for an undeveloped Maui
And it’s people.
In 1959 just before my older sister turned old enough
To have to pay full fare.
He and mother took us all there to meet the people
Who had welcomed a war tired Marine into their homes.
One of them was a doctor
Who grew orchids in his greenhouse.
He told mother and the three of us to go
And pick all the orchids we wanted
To make our own leis.
Can you imagine
Setting a nine-year old loose
In a greenhouse of orchids
To pick at will.
Talk about generosity.
I never realized it before just now,
But this is likely where my flower passion started.
My family traveled far and wide.
By the time I went to college
I’d been to 48 states.
Still haven’t made it to Utah and Alaska.
But the place we went most often
Was to the Rocky Mountains.
And there in the heat of summer
I would find smiling pansies, cosmos, daisies, geraniums and petunias.
Lots and lots of petunias.
John and I have continued this pattern
Especially since Elliott, Kristina, Harper and Henry
Live in Colorado.
We have visited most summers for several years.
And the flowers only get more extravagant.
After all, if your bread and butter as a state
You want to look pretty.
And oh how pretty they look.
But there is a trade-off.
There always is.
And that trade-off is a short growing season.
The last freeze in these mountain towns.
Occurs in what they affectionately call “mud season”.
When all the snow is melting.
Technically it’s June 15th or so.
And the average first freeze is just after Labor Day.
Now all gardeners push the edges of these dates
To the limit.
We’ve all been nipped by a late or early freeze.
So while the cool days and nights
Allow for glorious blooming annuals and perennials
It’s still a trade-off.
They get three months of growing season.
I get nine sometimes ten.
Blooms lumber through my zone 7 backyard
From Valentine’s Day.
To Halloween or later.
In the mountains
It’s a flashy summer run.
Short and sweet
Or long and lovely.
I’m thankful I get to enjoy both.
And grateful for dirt under my fingernails
For so much of my life.