A Brief Moment With My Geraniums
Updated: Apr 14
Apparently, I wrote this story last August, but I didn't hit the publish button ha-ha
Yesterday, I was spending some quality time with my geraniums. At over ten years old, their only real enemy is the bitter cold, so I wanted to gather them up and bring them inside before the temperature dropped too much.
After spending most of the summer in the garden, I was looking forward to seeing them, and start to feel quite maternal towards them. Like a mom taking care of her children, I cleaned them up, tried my best to get rid of the bad bits, gave them something nourishing to eat, and got them comfy and settled into their favorite spot.
As I turned the last geranium towards the window, the afternoon sun came through the trees and shone brightly on my hand. The sudden warmth surprised me, and I found myself feeling quite overcome at how lucky I was to be tending my flowers at that exact moment when the sun decided to reach through and touch them.
But, I have to confess, my love affair with geraniums started later in life. Growing up, I never used to like them at all - the rigid shapes of them made me uncomfortable, and I have never enjoyed plants that grow so slowly that they almost look like they're not real.
And when I first started to notice them, they were the darling of our neighborhood, and I just couldn't understand the appeal of these perfectly groomed, almost-identical, mostly-red geraniums.
Every window-box had them, so I vowed then and there never to have one in my garden. Until, one day I was talking to my neighbor, and he said something about not liking flowers and not being a gardener. Surprised, I told him that he must be doing something right, because his geraniums (even in the middle of August) were still bright and vibrant. "Oh", he said, "Those? They're fake - the craft store had a sale on them in the spring!".
I may be exaggerating a bit, but I remember my stomach turning, and feeling both tremendously horrified and overwhelmingly sad when he said those words. How could I not have known, and how could I have been so deceived by those meticulous, plastic bits of red. I have to say, my pride took over at that moment, and I was angry at myself and perhaps a wee bit angry at my neighbor. Of course, I told him how lovely they were, we finished our niceties, and I walked back to my house. But, if glaring at a geranium was a sport, I can tell you that I would easily have won the gold medal.
Not to be deterred for long, life moved forward, and I squashed my disappointment until the following spring, when I happened to be wandering through the garden center. As I turned the corner, I came upon hundreds of small, spindly geraniums - all neatly lined up, taunting me with their imperfections and paintbox colors. I felt my pride struggle inside me, as I unkindly grabbed eight of the salmon colored geraniums and put them in my shopping cart.
When I got home, I realized it wasn't their fault at all, so I took a deep breath, kindly removed them from their containers, and gave them a good look. Beatrix Potter came to mind, and I wondered what she would have done with them, As I added soil to the window-box, my fingers sifted through the dirt and I found myself deep in thought, embarrassed at how silly (and prideful) I had been over a flower.
So, I decided to go full-on Peter Rabbit, and arrange them in the window-box with a mess of aged, haphazard terracotta pots; I wanted them to appear accidental and perhaps more than a little storybook-like. Now, over ten years later, my window-box and living room are filled with those very same geraniums - beautiful, imperfect.... and very much loved! :-)