Lessons From A Plant – Hydrangeas
Report From PIA – April 2
I’m giving a talk on Hydrangeas tomorrow, so Cape Cod’s favorite plant is on my mind. We love them because they have big, bold flowers. We also find them irresistible because many are blue, blue, blue, an uncommon color when it comes to flowers. These shrubs are in bloom for a long time, also a rarity in the Northeast, so this captures our hearts as well.
The blue, big-leaf hydrangeas aren’t necessarily dependable in this region, however. If the winter temperatures dip to zero or below, or should the buds swell in March and then get hit with the cold off-ocean winds in April, there will be few to no flowers the following summer. Or if the spouse or landscaper decides to “clean up the sticks” in the fall or spring, and cuts them down, there will be fewer or no blossoms that season.
I don’t believe that this element of uncertainty adds to their allure…I think it just adds to a general level of anxiety. Will they or won’t they bloom this year, or why aren’t they blooming this summer?
In some ways our blue hydrangeas epitomize our desire for beauty and pleasure in life. We rejoice when we have these things in abundance, but recognize that they are not guaranteed. When splendor and delight are plentiful, we can take them for granted, and when they are absent we set about learning what went wrong and if we can correct things in the future.
With hydrangeas and life, we do our best to make things grow and bloom well, and cope with that which is out of our control.