Category Archives: The Great Outdoors

Take time to smell the lilacs

I have an app or two on my phone and tablet that sends me “memories” of what I tweeted, or posted on Facebook or took photos of that day in history, back to 6 or 7 years ago. For the past few days I have been seeing photos of lilacs that I took and either tweeted about or posted about on Facebook. This morning I panicked, worrying that I’d missed the lilacs this year. That I’d been so preoccupied with a bunch of other things that the lilacs had come and gone and I’d not had the chance to smell them this year.

My lilacs are in the front yard and one would think that I’d notice if they were in bloom or not, what with my car usually being parked 10 feet away from them. But I’d not gone outside much lately and when I did, didn’t think to check the lilacs. I did check them about three weeks or so ago and noticed there were a few tiny buds, so I knew I was going to get a few blooms this year, but not many.

I was happy to see that there were some lilacs on the tree when I checked from the front window of the house but it was hard to tell if they were in bloom or past their prime. This afternoon, after my dentist appointment I got a close look at them and saw that a few of the small flowers were in full bloom, but most were still tightly closed. I’d not missed them after all. I took a few big sniffs, smiled and went on with my day. For the next week or so I plan to visit my lilac bush several times a day and deeply inhale one of my all-time favorite scents.

I also took a moment to snap some shots of the other flowers in our yard. Spring is definitely the nicest season on our property.

Miracle Zinnia

miracle zinnaA couple of months ago two neighborhood girls held a bake sale for some charity that also included some handmade items and a few plants. I bought a cookie or two and some lemonade. I also bought a small zinnia to help their cause.

I ate the cookies, drank the lemonade and planted the zinnia on the front porch. When it bloomed for the first time I remembered a comment Lali made on a blog post I wrote about lilacs — she said that with most flowers the more you cut the more you get. I knew this was true for zinnias so I cut the first bloom off the zinnia to make sure I got more. I put the single bloom in a silver vase Clare received as a birthday gift from her godmother, Totty. It prettied up the kitchen table for a week or so, then I moved it to a higher location so our cat would not eat it. There it stayed for weeks. Eventually the color faded and I thought it was dried out. Eventually I pulled it out of the vase to put elsewhere — after all it was a dried flower — and was astonished to see that it had grown roots! A good 8 inches of roots. I’d learned all about advantagious buds in botany class, but didn’t realize a plain old stem could create roots.

I planted it in the same pot as the mother zinnia and it is still living — the leaves are green and the flower seems to have gotten some of its color back. We have a good couple of months left for it to grow outside. I wonder if it will just stay the way it is — or try to create seeds with its head. Maybe those advantagious buds that are probably near where the leaves meet the stem will begin to grow into stems with more flowers. I may need to bring this little miracle into the house for the winter!

Mine!

I am selfish. I have a hard time sharing things I like — dark chocolate, Jelly Bellies (TM), time with my kids, etc. I remember attending a Friday Mass when I worked at a Catholic school that talked about the benefits of sharing but I remained steadfastly selfish.

The other day I picked some lilacs from “our” bush (it was the neighbor’s lilac bush when we moved to Hoover Street but it has since  migrated to our side of the property line) and noticed that we had more bunches of flowers than in years before. I wondered how to make them last so I could enjoy them for as long as possible. I love lilacs. I worried that people would come in the night and take away my fragrant blossoms.

This evening as I planted basil in a planter on my front porch two women walked by the lilac tree and stopped and smelled and exclaimed at the scent. I called my agreement to them.

One of the women said she grew up in the Alps and had lilacs in her garden. I told her to take some. She was reluctant, but did take some. Then I realized that sharing is better than not sharing — you get more out what you share. I think I understand that Mass now.