What kind of fool plants flowers in late July, when the temperature is scalding and the dirt has become so dry it has closed like a fist and refuses even the longest kiss of the sprinkler? That would be someone who comes late to the love affair of flowers, someone who held out until the last minute against their invitation. That person would have said, “I hate orange and pink together.” “Flowers are banal.” “Flowers are so obvious, and they have no bones in winter. I’m a winter person.” And lastly, “Flowers will break your heart.”
This is very true. Just now I have been standing in the pungent dust with my garden hose wondering how many more times I will have to water the ailing flock of pink cosmos and orange rudbeckia until they stop falling over. I have snapped off countless dry husks from the daisies as I embrace the ruthless ritual of “dead-heading.” I have wept at the delicate hydrangea that refuses to thrive no matter how much shade and water and worry I offer. Yet every time I open the front door my heart is flustered all over again by the canna, the petunia and the dazzling blue lobelia. True: your heart breaks, again and again, but that doesn’t seem to matter once you fall into this kind of love.