Resilience – in gardening and writing


If you’re a gardener, ‘Lacecaps’ and ‘Mopheads’ will likely be familiar terms. They describe the two main groups of hydrangeas within which there are several different species and varieties. And that’s just about all I know about hydrangeas!

DSC05937On second thought, that’s not entirely true. I know that many of the varieties are sensitive to soil pH and the colour of the blooms reflect that. In acidic soils like ours, even when I plant pink varieties, the flowers usually revert to blue. In alkaline soils they’re more likely to stay pink. If you prefer the blue you can add soil sulfur, or to encourage the pink colour you can add lime.

I also know my hydrangeas prefer more shade than sunshine, and they would like more water than I give them.

Blowsy blossoms explode their summery colours in many gardens, and most look much better kempt than mine. It hasn’t helped that the bears romped through the garden bed this spring and broke branches on one of the blue bushes. It now has a decidedly bedraggled and lopsided look … but it’s blooming.

The thing about hydrangeas is that they’re survivors. Despite all the neglect and abuse, every summer they put renewed effort into providing colour. Even if their branches die, I can cut the plants down to the ground and so far they’ve always come back. That says a lot about their resilience … and their persistence.

I think that makes them a suitable floral emblem for writers. No matter the treatment, the rejections and resulting discouragement, we can always pare down to the essentials and start again. Given time, the regrowth may even turn out better than the original.

DSC05936 - Version 2

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3 thoughts on “Resilience – in gardening and writing

  1. Darlene says:

    I love hydrangeas and miss mine from my patio garden in Tsawwassen. They are hardy, like most writers. I am always surprised at how many of the flowering plants here in Spain survive in the relentless heat and no rain for over 2 months. (no watering either) I already managed to kill the geraniums I planted in pots. Succulents seem to be the best option right now.

  2. Mary Helen says:

    I planted a hydrangea about 3 years ago. It was blooming at the time but hasn’t bloomed since. I am disappointed, but perhaps it gets too much sun, and not enough water, or the soil is wrong. Whatever, I may move it come September

  3. Shari Green says:

    Another great analogy! Thanks. 🙂

    I planted a hydrangea in the back garden this spring. Our super-dry and warm summer is probably not ideal for its first season, but hopefully it will do okay.

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