Today I have a guest posting from my friend Peter Beck, who is less than devoted to making a complex garden, but who appreciates and encourages gardeners enthusiastically.
Six years ago neighbors Mary Kay and Earl Pope, tired of their annual carting of several enormous and weighty agapanthus indoors, gave three plants to us. The plants were indeed enormous and weighty, and they only grew larger and heavier. Eventually we transplanted the agapanthus into five pots. The size of the pots never diminished, the number of pots simply increased (and presumably will continue to increase).
At the time we were given the plants, we were also given very explicit instructions for their care during the winter sojourn indoors. Among many detailed responsibilities assigned us, that hiatus was to be a series of controlled diminutions of natural light, eventually leaving them in near darkness. And watering dwindled down to a monthly drink. We dutifully followed the instructions year after year and the plants always revived beautifully in the summer and flaunted lush and healthy foliage.
But we never had a single bloom. No rollicking pompoms floated above our plants.
Last fall we sold the Massachusetts house and brought the agapanthus to Connecticut. Exhausted from the move, we simply left the plants on the terrace until the first frost, when we brought them indoors to winter in full sunlight in the living room. And we watered them regularly and basically violated every command we’d been given for their proper care.
Today we were noting that our daffodils were blooming and that the forsythia seemed on the verge of bursting forth in full force. And then we noticed something indoors, on the agapanthus. A bloom. Not a great bloom, nor a big bloom, nor anything like what we’d expected. Well, truth be told, we’d given up on expecting anything and were more than content with the plants’ robust leaves and exuberant green color.
So here we are, having violated the rules and we’re rewarded with a bloom! We’d be inclined to conclude, “so much for expert gardening advice” but think the culprit really is our human inability to fully appreciate that plants appear to have minds of their own and can be maddeningly fickle, and that there’s a reason so much (or so many) in this world are viewed with a shrug as “late bloomers”. Or maybe it’s that persistence pays.
Nonetheless I choose to take this as a significant sign of good things to come. I call my agapanthus “Michelle” and she is lovely.