In mid-summer the local garden center offered 10 free geraniums with a coupon from the Greenville Daily Advocate.
Thinking ahead to our Greenville High School 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 going to the garden center with me to get the plants. 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 thirteen morning glory plants and half of those died, but the ones that survived had grown all over the fence and even up the rose bush beside it. Every morning there is a fence full of big heavenly blue flowers smiling at me.
The geraniums we planted earlier in puddles during Greenville’s monsoon season this year were doing just fine, thanks to Bill’s TLC. I was sure these freebies 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 son.
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 the middle of August they were gasping for water loudly enough that even I heard them. I started giving them a daily drink, and I waited and watched. They did their best, but by Friday, the day we decorated for the party, they still looked pretty spindly.
Then a classmate called. “Do you need more flowers for decorating?” she asked.
I breathed a huge sigh of relief and said, “Oh, yes.”
She continued, “I can bring some marigolds, but my geraniums aren’t doing well at all. I’ve been fertilizing them, and watering them, but they look terrible.”
How about that! It wasn’t my neglect or lack of gardening skills after all. In fact, with no additional water or TLC those spindly geraniums were full of bright red flowers and green leaves two weeks after the reunion.
They weren’t just survivors. They’re late bloomers.
EDITORS NOTE: this was first published in The Daily Advocate Sept. 11, 1996.