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Report From PIA – June 11

This summer reminds me of the year I did the flowers for Rachel Kaufman’s Bat Mitzvah. The ceremony was scheduled for late-June, and I thought that I’d have peonies, sweet William, iris and Lysimachia punctata for the synagogue and table arrangements. Unfortunately, it was a very warm spring and when Rachel’s date arrived, all of these plants had already gone by.

Nature repeats herself. Last year I knew that I would volunteer my garden for the church garden tour this year. This fundraiser is always held at the end of June, so I grew a number of Verbascum and foxglove from seed, imagining how they would all be in flower for the tour. Think again.

This season, like the year of Rachel’s Bat Mitzvah, it’s been unusually warm and the plants are still two weeks ahead of their normal bloom time. Those foxglove and Verbascum that I’d imagined flowering for the tour are coming into bloom now. I have no idea if they will still be pretty at the end of the month.

Flexibility is one of the great lessons we can learn from gardening. Those schedules and plans we hold so dear can be cast aside in the face of a heat wave, drought or cold spell, and we are forced to adapt.

I’ve always found the saying, “Man plans, God laughs,” to be a bit dark. I think it’s more that we plan, and God gives us the opportunity to see that there is so much more than our limited constructs.

I picked other flowers for the Bat Mitzvah, and if my beautiful Verbascum, foxglove and roses are past bloom by the time of the tour, there will be other flowers in my gardens that will be equally as beautiful. We gardeners plan, and God says, “Why be so restricted?”

Verbascum are so satisfying. The seeds all germinate, and the plants are strong enough to survive the first year in most growing conditions... then the following June they explode with such style and beauty...

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