In mid-summer the local gardening center offered 10 three geraniums with a coupon from the Greenville Daily Advocate.
Thinking ahead to our GHS class reunion at the end of August, I considered collecting the geraniums and growing them into marvelous decorations for our class party.
Right! The lady who gets 13 morning glory sprouts from two packs of seeds was going to grow free geraniums into fantastic table centerpieces.
Second thought—you never get something for nothing according to my sainted grandmother. But, I clipped the coupon anyway, and then forgot all about it.
A few days later I remembered when I passed the garden center and decided to go in and take a look at the free plants. They looked pretty good—four-inch pots, green leaves, and the possibility of bright red blooms.
I went back home, found the coupon, and talked Bill into helping me get the flowers. We put them on the side of the front wall by the driveway, and Bill began to water them.
I had high hopes for those plants. Maybe I did only get 13 morning glory plants and half of those died, but the ones that survived had grown all over the fence and even up the rosebush trellis beside it. Every morning there is a fence full of big heavenly blue flowers smiling at me.
The geraniums we planted in puddles during Greenville’s monsoon season this year were doing just fine, and the impatiens were okay, thanks to Bill’s TLC. I was sure those potted geraniums would be absolutely beautiful by the class reunion.
But… We got involved in another project—fixing up my family’s old home place so one son could sell it to another.
When you drag home after a long day of sorting through junk, stripping walls, fixing plumbing, and spending money, you just don’t notice the flowers wilting on the wall of the driveway where you park.
By Fair week they were gasping for water loudly enough that even I heard them. I started giving them a daily dink, and I waited and watched. They did their best, but by Friday, the day we decorated for the party, they still looked pretty spindly.
A gardening friend told me to bunch them together, wrap foil around the pots, and use them in groups along with the pots that survived the monsoons, but she hadn’t seen them.
Then a classmate who was a super gardener called. “Do you need more flowers for decorating?”
“Oh, yeah,” I answered gratefully.
“Well I can bring some marigolds, but my geraniums aren’t doing well at all,” she continued. “I’ve been fertilizing them, and watering them, but they aren’t doing well at all.”
How about that! It wasn’t my neglect or lack of gardening skills after all. In fact, with no additional water or TLC the spindly geraniums I brought home from the class reunion are full of flowers and leaves. They aren’t just survivors. They’re late bloomers.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate on Oct. 9, 1996.