All the rain has done one extraordinary thing, however. It has made the roadsides filled with more life than I have seen in several years. Day lilies planted by someone long ago, the orange tiger lilies, the daisies and the brown-eyed Susans are everywhere. The ferns look green and healthy and, well, it’s just a green world. I noticed all these wonderful gifts as I drove to the store to get milk and out to the farm around the corner for organic eggs, and I thought about how much we all take these little things for granted.

The fact that we never have to ask ourselves if there will be milk at the store would, quite honestly, be unbelievable in so many other places. Not only will there be milk but there will be several different kinds and we don’t question that. At the farm down the road, two beautiful young girls were peacefully enjoying a horseback ride when I pulled in and good-naturedly yelled, “Good morning.” The eggs, no more than two hours old, were in the cooler, fresh parsley stood in bunches on the counter and you could smell the warm cinnamon rolls. All is right with our world, and most of the time we don’t even notice. There are no land mines by the side of the road, just tiger lilies and daisies. The stone walls don’t keep the world out, they keep the flowers in.

I realized that most of us do not think about these gifts nearly often enough. The farmer who gets up at 4 a.m. to milk those cows, the woman who collects the eggs and grows the parsley and bakes the cinnamon rolls or so many others.

I have some lovely hanging baskets this year that are sporting a flower I had never seen before. It is called a Tirella begonia and has a lovely drooping star-shaped bloom. I would have never found this flower if not for Cindy Tibbetts at Hummingbird Farm in North Turner. Cindy and her husband, Brian, run a small nursery hidden in the woods on a back road. Their specialty is unusual plants. I got some amazing stocks and snapdragons from her this year with unique colors and seldom have I thought of what it takes for them to research, seed, grow and collect “unique” flowers for us to enjoy.

The same can be said of those hybridizers working in greenhouses around the world to fill the gardening magazines with “new introductions.”

Can you imagine how many months and, probably years, it takes to breed that new plant? I promised you an update on just such a plant. The Endless Summer hydrangea I talked about earlier this spring is doing great, in spite of all the rain and no sun. It is in bloom and looks quite healthy. Its blooms are not the blue I expected, but rather a bluish lavender. This could be because of my soil, though, and not necessarily the plant. It is advertised to bloom blue in acid soil and pink in alkaline soil. Well, maybe my soil isn’t as acidic as I thought. But the plant is lovely and promises to be even more so as it grows larger.

Sunflowers blooming

The sunflowers, a sure sign of August, are popping up everywhere. They grow under and around our bird feeders where they provide me with many reasons to smile – including the fact I didn’t have to plant them. They are simply a gift.

So until next time, appreciate the gifts that both man and nature have provided. Enjoy the flowers by the side of the road but leave them there so others can enjoy them as well, count your blessings whether at the grocery store or the nursery, enjoy the sheer joyous simplicity of the sunflowers and thank a farmer, if you get a chance. Happy gardening!

Jody Goodwin has been gardening for more than 20 years. She lives in Turner with her husband, Ike, her two dogs and two cats. She can be reached by writing to her in care of the Sun Journal, 104 Park St., Lewiston, Maine, 04243-4400 or by e-mail at [email protected]




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