First Bloom in the New Butterfly Garden
Last summer, my oldest sister, the Butterfly Girl, took to her wings and left this Earth. In the depths of winter, I was grieving hard and trying to find a way to honor and remember her. I came up with what I thought was a great and exciting idea: I would plant a new butterfly garden in her honor!
And so on a snowy day in late January, I placed a substantial order for plants online. In early May, they arrived, while it was still snowing, and far too early to plant. Finally, in late May, I got the new butterfly garden planted. It has been a very dry summer here, and so I have been watering the plants about every other day by hand.
I have to admit to a growing sense of disappointment, as the majority of plants I planted never even came up. Sure, there was evidence of a dig here or a nip there, as our acre has been overrun this summer with deer (see here and here), groundhogs, and bunnies (see here and here). It's a tough crowd when you're introducing brand new vegetation!
My husband has been teasing me about my gardening failure: "Was it YOUR fault, or was it THEIRS?" he asked, alluding to the bulb company whose plants I planted. This is an interesting question, and the answer is that I have absolutely no idea.
But the truth of things is this: that whether you do it all right or not, sometimes things just don't grow! So as it turns out, I have failed in my attempt to create something beautiful to honor my sister. I cried when I realized that. I am sorry, my dear sister; I had hoped to lure butterflies all summer long with the new plants, but we will keep on trying!
The happy news on this day was that Tiny Tiger discovered the first and only bloom so far in the new garden. It is a purple flower from a butterfly bush that will give me three colors of posies; isn't it great that the first bloom it gave me was purple, my favorite color!?
On this day, I also wrote a sad email to the bulb company, describing my original order and my efforts, telling them about my grief for my sister, and about the butterfly garden I planted in her memory, that I had such hopes for, that in the end, just did not grow.
They already wrote me back a very kind reply, expressing their condolences and indicating that because the plants I ordered are not available now, they have issued a replacement certificate for the bulk of my order, so that I may reorder and try again at a later date. Which I will do, of course! For I am nothing if not eternally hopeful.
Because here is a thing I have learned. And Dexter knows it too: it's along the same line as his lesson of "don't cry over spilt milk." When you are a gardener, you throw a lot of stuff on the wall and some of it sticks. Some of it doesn't. Don't take it too personally. Just get right back up on that horse and ride it again. (She said, casually mixing metaphors.)
So here is a salute to all of us who ever took on a bigger project that - mostly - did not work out, but whose tiny successes we can celebrate with gusto. So let us celebrate this first bloom, and anticipate the ones to come, when I try again next time. For I am not one to give up!
Maybe you could leave a little personal story in the comments, telling me of some project you took on that didn't work out the way you wanted, to help me feel like less of a gardening failure. Thanks, that would help out.
My soundtrack song is this one from Jakob Dylan, and let me tell you that I made several attempts to see him sing it in person just after the album Seeing Things came out, but that didn't work out either! Ha! That's life! Here is the song: Jakob Dylan, Will It Grow.
P.S. I am adding this comment in late September. The new butterfly garden provided its first safe haven for a brand new butterfly this past weekend. So here is another lesson - even if you label a project a failure overall, good things may still come of it!!!
The brand new butterfly
The story of the butterfly and its night spent in Barb's Butterfly Garden