People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
I haven’t always loved flowers, or maybe I have … but I remember vividly the day I fell in love with having a garden.
Flowers and Gardens
When my husband and I were first married, we moved from the Midwest to New Orleans. I also worked, not in a giant corporation like in the job I’d left in the Midwest, but for a small pipeline consulting firm. I was hired to engineer diameters and configurations of pipelines the firm would lay from offshore oil platforms to bring the oil on land to refineries. I didn’t love it, but I did it so that we could buy a house, some place to make our own.
When we found one we could almost afford– 5 feet below sea level (in that area, it’s common), 900 square feet, which had been neglected for more than our lifetimes, I continued engineering pipelines long enough to buy the house. It required a whole house gutting before we could move in, but my favorite part was the back yard. It had two gigantic pine trees, a beautiful Magnolia, and one thorny rose bush. I read a book to learn how to prune the rose, which was old judging by its thick canes, but one piece I lobbed off of the bush looked green, alive. I shoved that piece into the ground. About a month later, that shoot grew leaves, and a few months after that, it bloomed.
The single bloom was a coral-orange-fuchsia pink and so intoxicatingly fragrant it was impossible to walk away from.
That was the day I fell in love with gardens, with roses, with pushing random canes and plants into the soil and seeing what happens as a result.
On Light, Darkness, and Garden Beauty
Now, about eighteen years later, I still love gardens–roses, peonies, hummingbirds, color, and the feeling of growing something beautiful from the earth. And this last time I laid out my garden, I planted only my favorite garden flowers.
The one thing I have learned above all is that garden beauty appears at its most beautiful when caught in the contrast between light and darkness.
Here are a few of my recent favorite flowers … peonies and roses:
Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content. – Helen Keller
Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself. – Desiderius Erasmus
Darkness comes. In the middle of it, the future looks blank. The temptation to quit is huge. Don’t. You are in good company… You will argue with yourself that there is no way forward. But with God, nothing is impossible. He has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you can conceive. Wait. Pray without ceasing. Hope. – John Piper
In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present. – Francis Bacon
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. ― Martin Luther King Jr.
Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark … Make some light. ― Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux
But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold. — Oliver Wendell Holmes
But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine. — Thomas Jefferson
Do you have a favorite garden flower you’re enjoying this summer?