Three years ago, I planted some lavender in a small little blue pot. I really don’t know why I planted lavender because I was never really a big fan of the scent. I thought it was a bit overpowering but mostly I think it reminded me of a boyfriend I once had who would bathe in the stuff. I also planted some some sage. At the time, I couldn’t tell you what the difference was between a perennial and an annual never mind those bi-annuals. It seems obvious but I was overwhelmed with the state of my yard and when you are in ‘the overwhelm’, the obvious can float right on over your head. Or is that just me? I envisioned tall wildflowers blowing in the wind, a riot of colour and strength but really all I had was a few straggly plants and a whole lot of dirt. At the end of the season, I threw my pots with the now dried out plants into the garage and forgot about them. The lavender hadn’t really done all that well but the sage had been quite brilliant. I shrugged my shoulders and headed into the long winter hibernation as snow covered up all my mistakes.
( Note: These cone flowers were not a mistake and I love how their faded beauty lingers throughout the cold days of winter.)
Last year, I had different plans for my yard and garden and didn’t even look at those small pots sitting in my garage until one day I noticed that the sage had started taking off. I was thrilled and happily planted it in what was quickly becoming an actual garden. I didn’t even attempt to try and grow lavender again. I complained bitterly on twitter and facebook how I couldn’t grow lavender to save my life. People emailed me in wonder — didn’t lavender pretty much grow like a weed in my climate? Um. Maybe. But not for me. I had tried once and failed miserably and I figured that was the end of that. I thought perhaps I would try again when I wasn’t such a newbie gardener.
And then my sage got all these pretty purple buds on them and I touched them with delight and inhaled the scent of … lavender. Um. And that is when the obvious became clear to me. The sage I had was an annual and annual means it only grows for one season. The lavender I had was a perennial and a perennial will continue to come back so long as it is suited to the climate, or zone. I live in zone 4 so I have to be careful what I plant but lavender is perfectly fine. Apparently. And it grew and flourished despite my best attempts to kill it.
This year, my lavender almost tripled in size. I stare at it in wonder as it spreads and grows taller and taller and I can’t really tell you when it happened, only that it happened … I fell in love with lavender. Completely head over heels in love. The resiliency and strength of such a delicate soft beauty is intoxicatingly powerful. Everyday, I go out and let the scent wash over me as I run my hands up and down over the tiny purple buds. The scent no longer reminds me of an old boyfriend, it now tells me a story about how beauty can thrive in the most unlikely of places and how it can grow and spread joy if its allowed to just be itself.
“garden sleeps” and “lavender” © Darlene J Kreutzer