We lost a big Podocarpus tree (aka fern pine) in the winds earlier this year, and when it came down it almost took out a young lime tree. The same heavy winds took down a limb of an old bottle brush tree which, in turn, took out our power line and blew out the transformer in our neighbor's yard. It was a mess. In the middle of the night we had the roaring wind, the fire department, and the water and power people here. The live wire that came down was secured, and although we were without power for awhile, it didn't last long. In the days that followed, still in the midst of the pandemic lockdown, we had electricians and gardeners putting us back together and hauling away debris. We had some major pruning done, as one does after so much drama, trying to prevent a repeat should the winds return.
We have a natural inclination, I suppose, to shore up, secure, rebuild, as soon as we can in order to return to what we think of as normal. But of course it will never be the same normal again. Things will be different. We will be more cautious -- at least for a time. We will be vigilant and keep things in order as best we can -- until we are pulled back into the ordinary and our memory fades, or some other pressing event takes our attention.
Looking out our bedroom window every morning was a sad reminder of our loss. Instead of the tree and its lovely branches full of birds and squirrels, there was just a circle of dirt in the middle of the grass. A few straggly nasturtiums remained, looking somewhat shocked to be so exposed and alone. We felt that way, too. Something was needed to heal that space, fill that emptiness.
I sent for wildflower seeds.
I sprinkled them liberally over the bare dirt patch, stepping on them lightly as directed on the seed packet. I watered them gently. And waited. The wait was a long one, but seeds will grow in their own time, in their own way. I might have forgotten about them altogether -- in fact I probably did. It was fortunate that the automatic sprinkler system kept them watered a few times a week, because I can be unreliable in that department.
And then it began. Just a few hints of green here and there in the packed earth. Then a sprout or two. The gardeners mistook some of them for weeds. I had to post notices and put a bit of wire fencing around the patch to indicate that something precious was here, something that needed to be allowed to grow in its own way, in its own time.
We waited. We watched the daily growth, now getting thicker, now showing buds, now showing a tiny flower -- one, two -- look there! Four! I never imagined such diversity. No doubt I planted too many! Would they thrive? Should I thin them? No. I let them be.
Each day there was another confirmation of life. Each day another color, another shape, and so many bees! Butterflies! Truly, these gifts are too extravagant, too much, too many! And yet here they are, and each day there are more and more. Affirmations, blessings, benedictions, astonishments -- all are there outside our window.
It is just what we needed. It is just what our garden needed. A generous dose of wildflowers.
You can't go wrong.