Whether it’s receiving an unexpected bouquet or creating a gorgeous garden, these heartwarming stories will make your spirits bloom.
- Posted on Feb 25, 2021
The Importance of Pruning from Lori Stark of Brazil, Indiana
Backing out of our driveway, I hit the brakes to stare at our hibiscus in the front yard. It had grown so tall, it was brushing against the rain gutters. How could I have let my favorite plant in the garden go like this? Come late summer, its delicate white blooms would have to fight for space to unfurl themselves.
I added pruning it to my to-do list, a list that seemed never ending. Owning a manufacturing business with my husband, chauffeuring our daughter to school and activities, running a busy household—I felt as if I never had a moment to slow down. Unless it was to add a mental note to my dreaded to-do list.
That weekend, I grabbed my shears. As I clipped and shaped, I thought about my schedule. It was as overwhelming as this plant. Maybe I could do a bit of trimming there too.
I took stock of my daily schedule. Over the next few weeks, I found office tasks that could be simplified or delegated. I weeded out unnecessary chores, scratched off things I really didn’t need to do. I freed up some time for myself to relax and spent more time simply enjoying the company of my family. For the first time in a long time, I found a healthy balance.
In late summer, the hibiscus bloomed freely. But as I left the house one day, something caught my eye. In the middle of all those pristine white blooms was a solitary purple flower. Pruning had made my hibiscus even more beautiful, just as pruning my lengthy to-do list had made my life more bountiful.
Heaven-Sent Roses from Monica Herald of Frederick, Maryland
”We should go, sweetheart,” my mom called. I walked slowly down the stairs wearing my black dress. I was 10 years old, and today was my grandmother’s funeral. As my mom, grandpa and I walked to the car, my eyes lingered on Grandma’s prized red rose bushes that lined the outside of my grandparents’ house. Dozens of bushes, all but one in full bloom.
Grandpa sighed. “I told your grandma we should pull that one up,” he said sadly as we walked past, “but we never got around to it.”
At the church, my grandma’s coffin was covered with the roses she loved. But where was she now? Was she happy in heaven with no roses to tend? Friends and family offered comfort, but I could find none.
When we returned to the house I didn’t look at the rose bushes. As we walked toward the house, I almost bumped into my mom, who’d stopped suddenly.
“Dad, look.” My mom pointed and I had to look twice. The single bare bush was dotted with buds, fresh and full of life.
If Mom and Grandpa hadn’t been there, I might have believed it was a childhood fantasy. But to this day, when the roses are in bloom, we tell the story of the miracle bush that Grandma tended from heaven.
Bouquet of Love from Anita Winkelman Of Tucson, Arizona
On my day off, I decided to visit Mom. It had been a while, and I was looking forward to seeing her. Driving the familiar highway, I passed a turnoff and thought, That’s the road to Anna Jean’s.
Bring her flowers.
I didn’t know where the thought had come from, but I shared the idea with Mom as soon as I got to her house. “I know it would have made more sense to send flowers right after her husband’s death,” I explained, “but maybe any day is a nice day to give someone flowers.” Mom agreed, and we went to a florist and picked out the prettiest flowers and ribbons for a bouquet.
Mom rang the bell at Anna Jean’s. “Surprise!” she said when her old friend answered. I held out the flowers. Anna Jean looked at us and the bouquet. Then she started to cry.
“How did you know?” Anna Jean asked as she let us in.
“Today is my wedding anniversary,” she said. “The first since Ralph died. He always found a way to surprise me with something unexpected on this day. I was prepared to go without this year. But here you are with this beautiful bouquet...”
Carol’s Garden from Luann Tennant Coyne of Naperville, Illinois
I lay in bed, unable to keep my anxiety surrounding Covid-19 at bay. At least my husband and I were able to quarantine together. My next-door neighbor, Carol, in her seventies, lived alone. I missed getting out to have a cup of tea with her, and I knew from our phone calls that she was lonely.
There must be some way I can cheer her up, I thought, fluffing my pillow. Right then an idea came to me. I’d always been an avid gardener. I had plenty of flowers and plants, many that could be transplanted. The next morning, I gathered some clay pots and soil, and got to work. I took several pots and arranged them on Carol’s back porch, where she could see them from her glass door. “How beautiful!” she said, watching her garden grow.
“This is just the beginning,” I told her. And over the next few months, I covered Carol’s back porch with plant life. As I repotted and watered, Carol stayed on the other side of the glass to chat. It felt good to spend time with her again, even at a distance. And I was sleeping better, closing my eyes to envision new additions and color arrangements that would bring cheer not only to Carol but to me as well.
A New Season from Christy Johnson of Edmond, Oklahoma
Outside my kitchen window, the fuchsia blossoms on our crepe myrtle tree swayed in the breeze. Flowers sprang up from their beds. Wild blue phlox surrounded our yard like a blanket. It was hard to imagine giving up this garden I’d put so much of myself into.
Our youngest son had just moved out—the last of our four kids to leave the nest—and my husband, John, and I had decided to sell our family home and build a new one on the other side of town. I struggled with being an empty nester. As our children had grown older I’d spent much of my time gardening. Now I’d have even more time, but I didn’t know if I was up to the task of creating another garden. I finished my last sip of coffee and looked into the empty cup. It’s like I’m starting everything over.
Later that day, we went to check on the progress of our new place. Penny, a soon-to-be neighbor, invited us over for a visit. I admired the variety of flowers she grew. “Do you like to garden?” she asked.
“I do very much at our old house,” I said, “but I’ve never started a garden from scratch before.”
“I brought these lilies with me when I moved,” Penny said. “They multiply like crazy. I’ll give you some. It will be a start.”
“Thank you!” I said, feeling a touch of excitement.
As John and I settled in, Penny brought me cuttings from her garden. Before long, my own took shape. Lilies flourished around the property. A carpet of chartreuse moneywort covered the flower beds. Maroon chrysanthemum bloomed where planted. My friendship with Penny grew too, and I was thriving in this new season of my life.
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