Fight to the Finish

If you are a gardener, you may think you’re in charge of your garden. Big mistake. I spent about 35-40 years trying to kill one plant. Silly me. I thought I was in charge.

Every spring a large-leaf plant emerged next to the house foundation and behind the blueberry bushes. Not a good place for a plant, I decided. For years, I simply pulled the leaves out of the ground. That did slow it down, but I was never able to get the root. Eventually the spring came when I tried to dig it up. I thought for sure I was finished with it. A few weeks later, it emerged, as strong as ever.

Finally, out of patience, I sprayed it with a deadly poison. It died back that year. I thought I had it made. The following spring it popped out of the ground with what I swear was a smug expression.

Last spring I finally surrendered and admitted defeat. I simply ignored it. It grew a large leaf, and then another. It looked like a hosta. I know how they can take over and spread. It would likely expand and crowd out the blueberries. But for that year it stopped with only a few leaves.

This spring it grew stronger than ever and then, after all the leaves had opened, it started sending up big, sturdy stalks. The day came when I glanced over and saw it–five huge white calla lilies! Two of them are as tall as I am.

It’s still not a good place for it to grow. Those gorgeous white blossoms don’t show up well against the white house. We have, however, agreed to coexist. I admire its tenacity, and I think I heard it mutter something about my being a worthy adversary.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that, “Earth laughs in flowers.” I think I can hear those calla lilies hooting and howling with laughter. More recently, Martha Stewart said that “Gardening is a humbling experience.” That it is.

Toshiba Digital Camera