When we got down to Tupelo and Emily was showing us around her lovelies. I stopped suddenly.
“They waited for you, honey,”
I paused and smiled at the memory. A week ago, before Em’s trip to see her brother, she was worried that her peonies would bloom without her. “Oh my.. their smell, it’s heavenly.”
Dave’s the gardener; Em’s his daughter. I’m just the recipient of mounds of color, usually through July. He’s inherited it from his dad, the joy of digging in the dirt and watching for slug penetration.
Yesterday, I went out to see what he was up to. Yep, a new bed was created, tender greenery, and a new layer of dark mulch. “I see you’re finishing up the last of the 2nd yard here.”
“Yep, keeps down the weeds.”
“I do recall you mentioning that about a million times.” I snark. ” I was thinking about your dad today; I had just talked to the Post Office. Dave’s dad was the friendliest mail- carrier in all of the Midwest, I think.”
Dave smiled, remembering too. “I know he’s still wondering up in heaven why I always plant the perennials when all he worried about was his vegetable garden.”
“Yep, we can’t eat flowers,” I laugh. “Remember that beautiful line-up of peony bushes down the side of the house?”
” I do— ours are just starting. I wish they’d hurry up a bit because I like to prune in June.”
“Nice rhyme,” I mutter. “Don’t tell me that. I would like them to keep blooming until we get back from Kelly’s.”
“A bit touchy, aren’t you?”
“Well, you and your dad have that chain-saw mentality in common—remember the lilacs— we haven’t haven’t had lilacs for three whole years, you know?”
“I know what I did wrong, now. I didn’t prune in June.”
It turns out that pruning is essential information for gardeners. I’m running out now to look at my peony bush before it’s too late!
Later I show Dave the picture; he gets happy when I enjoy the flowers. I ask if I can cut a few stems.
“Nope, don’t touch them. Research says that Fall is better for pruning peonies. Besides, I like my flowers in the ground; you know that.”
Yep. I do. I have never gotten cut flowers for any occasion, maybe a new tree or bush. And I’ve grown to love the wonder of the returning plants lifting their faces to the sun and our prayers for a gentle rain to soothe and nourish their souls.
PS He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful— John 15:2