The Flowers in the Flowerboxes

14 09 2017


Every morning in the summer, we bring our coffee outside and sit on our deck to gradually wake up, greet the morning and savor the birches and pines that surround us. This year, we added some flowerboxes to the railings. The bright gerbera daisies and hummingbird-shaped purple petunias have been a welcome addition.  Our family and our guests all comment on them—a “pop of color,” my niece Deidre says. “You can enjoy them from inside the house, too, as you look out.”  They also get a daily visit from hummingbirds, who savor their nectar, or sometimes seem to just pause to admire them. The bees are happy for our new arrivals as well, loving their new pollen sources. We humans and animals alike have so much more joy and beauty in this space because of the new flowers here.

The weather forecast is for several clear, sunny days, with warm temperatures—auspicious for me, but requiring extra attention for the flowers, a new responsibility to me. The forest around us pretty much takes care of itself. Reminder to self: “Water the flowerboxes!” Because they are located in these small containers with alien soil and a limited amount of space, they aren’t well-established with deep roots; nor is there a watershed beneath them to store moisture for the long-term. Even in mild weather, they need attention.

The forest wildflowers, the trees, ferns, even water lilies, are in their native habitat, where their roots are sunk deep, their seeds are released, and they awaken every spring and follow the natural cycles and rhythms of their home. They are watered naturally by the dew and rain.

The plants in the flowerboxes, on the other hand, are no longer in the place they were first grown.

I wonder where they originally came from—a greenhouse far away, or the wholesaler in town? Where/when/how did they get put into individual pots for transport, which eventually wound up in the store where we purchased them, to be relocated into these flowerboxes? They are planted in potting soil. (Supposedly better for their growth). They are fed fertilizer (to make up for their past uprooting, deprivation, transport). They are restricted to these containers with limited depth and no surrounding forest resources. (I hope they thrive in their new home!)

Fortunately, they are shaded by the forest trees so that they are sheltered from blazing sun that would rapidly evaporate their limited water supply. Yet, I need to water them. Check on them. Tend them. Ask someone else to check on them when I am away and it doesn’t rain for a while. I’ve been diligent (pat on the back), and the plants have grown larger and stronger, with new flowers and more ‘pops of color’ too.

As the summer days, the visitors, and our mornings on the deck have continued, so has our enjoyment of the flowers, which have bloomed and thrived.

They make me think of immigrants.