Planting Hydrangeas

Hanging in my mother’s garden is a sign that reads “Bloom Where You Are Planted.” I wish I had her green thumb, but somehow that gene skipped a generation. My mother has the ability to grow any flower. She seems to just understand where flowers should be planted, proper soil pH, watering, and the importance of pruning. She even has a compost pile where she and my dad amend the soil with egg shells, potato peelings and coffee grounds. Not me! I don’t compost and I don’t prune. I mulch and that’s about it. Nevertheless there is one plant I can grow well: Hydrangeas.

I love hydrangeas because these plants are hearty and resilient to just about any soil type and sun exposure. Bottom line, I can’t kill them. Did you know you can actually change to color of the flowers by changing the pH of the soil. An acidic soil (pH below 6) will produce blue flowers, while alkaline soil (pH above 7) produce a pink or red flowers. We have alkaline soil so my hydrangeas are always pink in hue. Late this past fall I got a wild idea to actually prune my flowers. As I snipped away I was dumbfounded to see a hydrangea blooming in November! We had already experienced several frosts so imagine my surprise to see a hydrangea in bloom! I smiled, even through extreme temperatures this one flower still remained, reminding me to hang on even during the hard times. I decided to make a flower arrangement out of this one flower.

This week I said a tearful goodbye to not one but two friends and their families who are moving to Tennessee. Both friends relocated because of their spouses’ career. My heart aches at the loss of closely sharing life together. No more morning coffee talks at the kitchen table or spur-of-the-moment play dates with the kids. <Sigh>.

Recently our Pastor spoke on Ecclesiastes Chapter Three. Tears fell down my face as he expounded from this passage:

“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven:

A time to be born and a time to die,

A time to plant and a time to be uprooted,

A time to heal and a time to kill,

A time to tear down and a time to build up,

A time to weep and a time to laugh,

A time to mourn and a time to dance,

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones,

A time to embrace and a time to refrain,

A time to search and a time to give up,

A time to keep and a time to throw away,

A time to tear and a time to mend,

A time to be silent and a time to speak,

A time to love and a time to hate,

A time for war and a time for peace.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

When I heard “a time to plant and a time to be uprooted” my mind immediately went to my friends and to hydrangeas. Both of these friends have been planted in this area for several years. I have had the pleasure of watching our friendship grow and our children grow, passing along recipes, prayers, encouragement and clothes along the way.

Now it is time for my friends, Amy and Lyle and their families to be uprooted from Virginia and to put down roots in Tennessee. Their soil and surroundings may be different than before, but they will still flower. I wouldn’t expect their lives to look the same as before. These friends will be planted with along side new experiences and friendships, but one thing I know: like the hydrangeas, they too will bloom where ever they are planted!

~April

“May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:12

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