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  • Writer's picturecatherine@allaboutwriters


Even with my meagre flair for flowers (or anything gardening), I realised it wasn't a great time to pot in the height of summer. Circumstances were such, however, that if it worked I was winning, if it didn't, no loss. I didn't know their names or their needs...nor anything about the endless options when choosing a pot...

And so I set to work.

Having transplanted blooming plants in the height of summer, things were quickly not going well. I watered (how much water?), moved them about (how much sun?) and hoped for the best. By the time we hosted Christmas lunch a short week later, there was much admiration for the pots, and consoling conversation about what the plants may have been that once lived and now occupied them. Over the following weeks, with visitors and vacations, the pots got little thought.

A little hope still lived somewhere in me though, for I continued to water. Who can say why, possibly the advantage of no-garden-know-how coming in handy here. Summer was blistering, drought having sucked every lick of moisture from the earth. Our landscape was brown and brittle, mirroring the colour of the skies that were soon shrouded with smoke for weeks on end. All the while, the heat never abated. And I kept on watering.

There were two plants that had somehow survived, albeit a little worse for wear. So one day, with an hour to spare, I took the secateurs and cut back all that was dead across the pots. One was left with a single, maybe-alive stem where there had been a bush of dead. Others were emptied, nothing to salvage, and the two most alive just trimmed and tidied. And I continued to water, even the empty pots. "Ridiculous as best", I thought as I watered, "Wasteful at worst". Still...I watered.

Another month passed in this way, until finally the rain came. And boy, did it come. With our attention on our wider community, the grass out back, the reserve once again showing life, I didn't notice the pots until they refused to be ignored any longer. Flowers burst in colour from no less than five pots. Flowers that I had not planted had somehow found homes there. How does that even happen? Even that single stem that survived is now sagging with new growth, so green and vibrant. How impressed I am by their determination. How unaware I am of how or why. How thankful I am that this lack of knowledge doesn't stop me from enjoying them, not even for a moment.

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