I love Hydrangea plants. They aren’t my favorite flowers actually. I love a high maintenance Hyacinth and of course the stately Fleur de Lis. But there is something about a hydrangea bush that signifies to me a well-loved home. We had never had one because in all our houses in Maryland because we either spent all our time and money cleaning up bad landscaping left to us or we were out of money by the time we got to a house that had any potential for planting. I admired my neighbors’ hydrangeas but never got to love one of my own.
When we first moved to New Jersey, I was terribly lonely and questioning every decision I’d ever made-my marriage included. A few weeks in, when I was certain we’d made the wrong decision and was madly googling ideas for “long-distance marriage” my little girl showed me this.
I’d lived in four houses in my home state and never once did I have one of these. I’m in New Jersey for three weeks and I’m gifted with this fully-blooming, albeit overgrown, hydrangea right outside my front door. I wrote about that being a turning point for me deciding not just to stay put but to start making this home.
Fast forward three years to our third house (yes, I know how crazy that is) in New Jersey and the first one without a hydrangea in site. My mother-in-law, who might win most thoughtful person in the world award, showed up with a potted hydrangea as a gift for me.
I was touched and intimidated. I kill everything green. I couldn’t even grow tomatoes on a plant that was sold to me as a “sure thing”. I was sure I’d kill this gorgeous thing and I didn’t want whatever karma came from killing such a meaningful plant!
So, I left it most of the summer in the pot on my back porch and continued to water it and cross my fingers that it could live there forever.
It can’t. It’s a bush people, not a potted plant-unfortunately.
Anyway, I bit the bullet in August when the poor thing started to turn brown. (They’re even pretty dry!) I dug a hole in the one spot of our yard that wasn’t covered with overgrown hedges (The Husband has since remedied the overgrowth.). My kids watered it diligently through the fall and I bid it a sad dieu assuming I’d never see it again.
Guess what’s happening now?
We’re not out of the woods yet. It’s hardly thriving and I clearly need to pay it more mind on a regular basis. But, the wonder of hearty little plants has affected me almost as much as the flip flop weather this week. I’m generally sunny of disposition due to the wonder of spring.
Maybe we won’t kill it. Maybe it’s strong enough to survive our lack of a green-thumb. Maybe it will grow to be big and lush enough to be the backdrop for prom pictures. Maybe we’ll pluck some flowers for wedding bouquets.
Maybe, just maybe, this little hydrangea-that-could is a sign that here in this house, smack in Jersey, we are finally home.
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