Years ago, I began to take an interest in gardening. I lived in an apartment, but was determined to use my limited space to create a bit of a garden paradise, even if only in pots. I was inspired by my travels to the tropics, and wanted to try my hand at growing some of the beautiful plants I had seen while surfing in the islands and mainland Mexico. My neighbor at the time, Jennifer – was an older Asian woman who seemed to be able to grow nearly anything, with fantastic results.
Every day, she would care for her garden, and share insights on what worked and what did not. All the while, she would speak of this one plant that she described would “eventually” produce an incredible flower. (Though I did not find it to be a particularly nice looking plant) She told me how it would flower only once a year, and that it would only last for one evening. Even more odd – that it would flower some time in the late evening once the summer sun had gone down and the evening had cooled. When ever she spoke of this, she was so excited, and I could tell that she truly loved this plant.
One evening, Jennifer came knocking on my door, and insisted that I come up to see something. It was late, but she was so excited, that I did not ask questions and simply followed her upstairs. When I got there, her prized flower had arrived. Just as she suggested, it was an incredible sight. It was a huge melon sized white sort of Tiger Lilly looking flower – only more full and with far more pedals. I had never seen anything like it. It was really soft to the touch, and its pedals were so delicate and thin that they were almost transparent. Even more incredibly, it made this tiny east bay balcony garden smell like a lush corner in Kauai.
It was at this moment that I really understood the magic of a garden. The beauty of this flower was fleeting, and sure enough, by the following day, it was gone. This crazy looking plant gave its gift in the flower – something that could have easily been missed by not paying attention. But nonetheless, it gave its gift.
This was a turning point for me and the choices that I make in my own garden. I now have a home, and far more space to play in the dirt. However, when I choose plants, I do so because I love its leaves or the bush itself. You see, it is the plant that I care for, see, and enjoy every day – and the flower is the plants way of thanking me for my care and attention. Thank you Jennifer – your passion for that random flower has given me so much, and to this day, I am pretty succesful in my own garden – and whenever my plants flower, I know that they appreciate my efforts.