Uncertainty Prevails, Bloom Anyway

The lily is on the right side of this view.

This fantastic spider lily (crinum) grows in my garden. The plant is lush and green most of the year. I serendipitously planted it in just the right place, so it grows nearly 5’ tall and erupts in a fireworks-like display of white blooms in summer.

A fireworks explosion of flowers, I photographed this bloom against a black background

In early June, this plant, like me, was anticipating a beautiful summer, made up of pleasant temperatures, sunny days, and gentle rains. I was hoping for happy days, seeing friends, doing a little traveling, and enjoying predictable weather. 

During June, my lily produced nine fabulous blooms. The buds ranging from 4”-7″ in length sneak up through the sword-like leaves to break out into dozens of white flowers with delicate pink stamens. One bud produces multiple flowers lasting several days.  It is a joy to see each morning.

Carpenter Bee who usually like wood, enjoy this lily

In June, I anticipated visiting a dozen gardens in California, Montreal, and Michigan. Then reality set in. July brought scorching temperatures, pounding rain, and smoky skies. My lily’s beautiful green leaves turned brown and turned down, looking the worst I could remember. For me, there were closed borders, a Delta variant, and scary skies with flying becoming a mask battleground.

I just discovered this bud this morning, it is 7″ in length

In August, our monsoon season began, there was rain, cooler temperatures, and my lily sensed this change. It drank up the rain, and one morning, I discovered a new bud emerging among the browned leaves. A flower wants to bloom, and it was trying again. It may seem crazy for a plant to put all its energy into a flower stalk under such harsh conditions, yet that is what a flower is destined to do, bloom and create a beautiful moment.   Days later the temperatures shot back up, and the flower stem fell over, landing amidst a sunflower. The bloom opened, but it languished. It dried up nearly as soon as it flowered.

fell over and bloomed along with a sunflower

It seems a perfect metaphor for life with this dreadful virus. My lily wants to bloom; it sends up new leaves, buds, it wills itself to make the best of the situation at hand. We humans have the same challenge. Uncertainty prevails. We don’t know what the weather or the virus will bring. What we need to bloom is a commitment to our enthusiasm for life. No matter what our interests are, each day is full of possibilities. At the same time, conditions are stressful. While we may feel frustrated by our ability to make plans, we are born to flourish and bloom, even if, like my lily, we fall into a different environment than planned. I resolve to keep growing, and I hope you do too.

The lily grows so large I have to divide it, this is two bulbs

21 thoughts on “Uncertainty Prevails, Bloom Anyway”

  1. Dear Linda,

    I really enjoyed it that you shared your garden in its different stages of health this summer. And I enjoyed the serious thoughts about this time we are in too. Thank you !

    Your spider lily was wonderful to see, especially the photo of you with the one that needs dividing. What a job! I hope you will be able to travel again this fall.

  2. What a gift you have. Thank you so much for sharing it, particularly at this perilous and unpredictable time.


  3. Dear Linda,
    What a lily! What a great story!
    I remember when you first installed your garden hardscape—you have done a beautiful job tending it all these years since the 2014 (or 2015) Real Gardens for Real People Annual Master Gardener Tour.
    —Peggy Klitzke

    1. Hi Peggy! The garden has really grown since 2014. It has been our refuge during COVID. Hoping all is well with you

  4. Thanks for the beautiful greenery in your garden. Yikes, that lily is huge! Your words are so inspirational and appreciated.

  5. Hey, Linda! Your post took me wayyy back, to my home in Canada…we had those Spider Lilies on our coffee table in Montreal, and later in Ottawa. My intrepid, sneaky Nana would smuggle exotic seedpods from Antigua back to her home in Toronto (“in my unmentionables – customs people would never dare to look there in my suitcase” she would say!), and of course my mother would repropagate them in pots indoors. we had frangipanis and other weird and waxy tropicals too. I have fond memories of watching the blossoms explode open, and then I would rush to stick my nose in and inhale the wonderful lemongrassy aroma, and yes, get those lovely orange pollen streaks on my face – Thanks for the memories!

  6. Hi Linda that Spider Lily was beautiful but I personally would not want to divide it. Does it spread like other lily’s seem to do?

    Good to know that you and Rich are doing well. Are those some of this ‘works’ in the background ?

    Stay safe. Lyn

    1. Hi Lyn, yes the bird, the blue bottle bush are Rich’s work. The lily isn’t a fast spreader but it’s a big project to divide.

  7. I had no idea lilies could grow like this here in the ‘valley of the sun!’ Yes, we need to take advantage of every opportunity to bloom where we’re planted 🙂

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