– Bloomers

I planted mountain laurel around the perimeter of our deeply shady back yard several years ago. Some I bought from Home Depot and some I mail-ordered from a specialty grower. In the beginning, I watered, and I fertilized. A few died; a few established themselves. The ones that lived grew and branched, yet grew only green. No blossoms, and blossoms was what I was after. After a few disappointing springs, I gave up looking. Their uneven profiles and glossy leaves faded into the blur.

Two of them surprised me in early May. I saw, through the kitchen window and across the yard, what looked like… buds.

In late May, the buds burst. They have persisted through June.

Kalmia, striped

Kalmia, pink

Is flora time like fauna time? If these Kalmia are, say, seven years old, is that akin to a seven-year-old dog being middle-aged?

I ask myself this question because I don’t think I can take any credit for these blossoms. Well, I put them in the ground, and I tried to hurry them along with water and feed. In the end, though, they bloomed when they were ready. Whether early or late, it was according to their own clock and not mine.

Photographs by Eli.

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