Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Pink Hydrangea

There are fifty-two hydrangeas that surround our cottage. They are a delightful source of beauty during the spring and summer months when they are in full blue, pink, or white bloom, and in the autumn when their flowers turn an amazing shade of green, they are perfect for creating ravishing wreaths and arrangements that last the long winter through. With fifty-two of these gracious ladies around me, I rarely feel the need to purchase fresh flowers once they decide to commence their seasonal show. However, there used to be fifty-three of them.

Our very first hydrangea was planted by my father. It was a vivid pink mophead and he placed it directly beside the front stairs. Being a methodical perfectionist with his own unique set of ideas and techniques, the planting process took a bit of a while. Peat moss was brought in, along with cottonseed meal, the hole was dug and re-dug to a specific depth, fertilizer was added, lime was sprinkled into the mix, mulch carefully placed round the plant like a stole. Wiping his hands on his trousers when finally done, he declared it to be planted “just perfect”. His efforts were amply rewarded as that pink hydrangea continued to thrive year after year, growing ever larger each season, its dinner plate size blooms drooping low over the front porch stairs and shining a fuschia light in the summer sun. Indeed, its beauty was so seductive, it enticed us to continue planting hydrangeas in the garden each and every spring until every spot was taken and we were known as the Hydrangea House.

Daddy passed away a year and a half ago and, in a tale worthy of the fairies, his pink hydrangea, our very first one, the one standing strong and tall for so many years, left with him. I thought last season it might have just been damaged a bit by a early spring frost, but this year it is clear that the lovely old lady is no more. As I plant a new pink one in the same place this year, I shall think of Daddy in his heavenly home, his resplendent garden adorned with a familiar, ever-blooming, pink hydrangea by the front door.
I know it will have been planted just perfect.