Late Bloomer

When I came home from Korea last week, I was pleasantly surprised to see this tall shrub with beautiful flowers hanging from its branches. I was struck by the pinkness of the leaf-like sepals that hung unfurled like open arms poised for an embrace. The thin branches spread upward and outward, but the clumps of flowers weighed them down, causing the limbs to bow over the walkway that led to our front door. It was quite the welcome.

I remarked on this latest addition, telling my mom I loved the color it added to her garden. She tried to sound neutral,”Oh, you think so?” But I knew she was secretly thrilled. My mother is an enthusiastic gardener, always outside in the morning snipping here and there. There is no structure or layout to her design, but that is actually the intention. She simply wants to plant the seeds, and tend to them until they grow and fill every empty space.  A neighbor had once called it a “British garden” – charming and homey in its wildness and diversity. Of course, my mom reveled in the admiration.

She told me that the flowers, called Doña Aurora, had been planted around the time of my older sister’s wedding – back in 2015. They had taken three years to grow and blossom! But they were planted together with bougainvilleas that still, up to this day, refused to show themselves. I could hear the frustration in my mom’s voice when she shared this. I – the failed gardener who could not even keep a cactus alive – said that maybe they had not survived and had instead withered away. My mom remains stubbornly hopeful.

When I walk outside or just gaze out of the screen doors of the trellis, my eyes are immediately drawn to the pretty pink clusters and the small yellow flowers at their center. I knew that I just had to reserve a page in my sketch book for these florals. They’re nowhere near the real thing, but at least now I get to carry around something that reminds me of my mom’s late bloomers. ❤

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