Front Porch Lessons, Part 1

front porch lessons

I typically use images from professional sites; today’s photos are all mine.

This time of year I enjoy rising early to prepare a simple breakfast that gets transported on an old hammered-silver tray to my front porch. The peaceful morning is a perfect setting for considering what lessons are offered up to me from the garden and surroundings.

Above is a plant whose lovely blossoms open only in the morning. By early afternoon the flowers have enclosed themselves back into a ball. This plant, like me, is a morning person. Sometimes we morning persons feel an edge of superiority over “regular” people. So it’s good to be reminded that afternoon and evening people bloom differently than I do.

In 2004 we planted a small fringe tree out front. So named because of the fringe of silvery white flowers that hang from its branches in late spring, it grows into a rounded form 12-20 feet tall AND wide. So in fifteen years, it became an unwieldy monster. Until my husband pruned the lowest branches, I had no idea of the view it was blocking. The lesson here is that clutter (physical or mental or green) blocks our view. Over time, without our awareness, we lose sight of what’s around us.

About ten years ago a gardening friend gave me a lilac bush. Disappointedly, it never bloomed until last year when one small sprig of lilac showed up. Then this year there were two sprigs! Hmm…I’m hoping that this lilac will mimic the effects of compound interest and grow like crazy from this point on. But the truth found in this slow lilac is that some plants, some people, some ideas, some dreams take their own sweet time to burst forth. And that’s OK.

This tall spindly native Virginia plant needs to be staked and supported. Otherwise the stems, top heavy with flowers, would either bend to the ground or break. The plant doesn’t appear to be the least bit embarrassed about needing help. We humans each likely have already needed or will need support at some point in our lives. Follow the plant’s lead; accept help graciously so you can continue blooming.

This hydrangea bush nearest the front porch was once annually abundant with gigantic blooms. Severely decimated by deer some years back, it hasn’t flowered for at least three years. But this summer it’s back, although not in the same luscious way. The flowers are much smaller, but that one bush has flowers of several colors: purple, pink, blue, and white. It makes no sense to think I could demand the hydrangea to be like it used to be. I’m accepting this change graciously because sometimes different can be more interesting than normal.

This was going to be a one-shot post, but the longer I lingered over my coffee the more lessons appeared. So stay tuned for Front Porch Lessons, Part 2 on Saturday. And in the meantime, go sit on a porch and find your own lessons.


4 thoughts on “Front Porch Lessons, Part 1

  1. Judy Jones says:

    Norma, you are truly remarkable!
    I can’t wait to forward this to Andrew’s significant other, Kaileigh. She sees and feels so much more in having and caring for plants and flowers. Just like you!!!!!!!!
    I love what you do! You ARE our Renaissance Woman!!!!!!

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