Posted in Great Outdoors

Plant Yourself Where You Can Bloom

St. Francis de Sales, the gentleman saint and ...
St. Francis de Sales, practicing his blooming (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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“Bloom where you are planted.”

 — The Bishop of Geneva, Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622)

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We’ve all heard these words of wisdom.  Blooms are beautiful, and graceful, and showy.  They also smell good.  And who doesn’t want to smell good?  But the old adage sounds a little to me like, “Shut up and get back to work.”  I mean, making the best of things is always a good idea, but there’s nothing wrong with thinking outside the planter.

You may be a late bloomer, in full bloom, or just wearing bloomers, but I think we can all agree that blooming is good.  A bloom is a plant’s marketing campaign.  It’s like walking through Macy’s.  You’re only going in for the white sale, when all of a sudden you’re sidetracked by the bright lights and juicy colors of the cosmetic department.  Your head turns.  Left, then right.  The next thing you know you’ve walked headfirst into a woman spritzing you with this year’s version of Miss Dior Eau De Toilette.  Suddenly you’re dancing around like a bee on a stamen.

English: A picture of compost soil
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When someone tells me to bloom where I am planted, it’s usually because they’ve buried me in dirt.  “Sit here, I’ll bring you water when you look dry.  Now, do something fabulous!”

Last year I planted some zinnia and sweet alyssum seeds.  They came up great.  They bloomed where they were planted as expected, and at the end of the summer, I pulled them out and dragged their dead, lifeless carcasses to the compost pile.  Their job was done.  I gave them water, sunshine and the occasional human-to-plant conversation.  I enjoyed their grandeur, and I was grateful.

On the way to the compost pile last fall, a few seeds fell off and nestled into the scrappy little spot between our driveway and the neighbor’s.  In the spring, they germinated.  The seedlings were unnoticeable until their height surpassed those of the weeds.  Eventually demanding my attention, I realized they were unmistakably zinnia.  It wasn’t until a few weeks later I noticed the smaller, daintier white flowers of the sweet alyssum too.
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My front garden blooms every year.  It greets me on the way in, and rivals the draw of any cosmetic counter for the bees and butterflies.  But it was the courageous zinnia with its alyssum companion that made me smile the most this summer.

While weeding the cracks, my neighbor called from his backyard deck, “Don’t pull the flower!”  I knew they were smiling too.  And it made me think about Saint Francis de Sales’ words a lot.  I thought about the difference between blooming where you are planted, and finding a place to plant yourself.

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When you find a place you want to grow, you’re no less beautiful, and you smell just as good — provided you practice personal hygiene, of course — but it might take a little longer to get noticed, because people won’t expect to see you where they aren’t looking.  But once you rise above the weeds, and they get a chance to know you for who you are, you will make them smile.  You will be blooming in a place they didn’t even realize needed a flower, or knew that one could grow.

In time, you might even find that they make a regular garden out of it, and you can take pride in knowing that your blossom was the first of many.  And maybe . . . just maybe, as one day they haul your body off to the compost, one of your seeds will fall in a crack in some other forgotten space . . .

Or maybe that’s another story.

Peace . . .

Posted in Fun, Room and Board

A Fruit That Needs Some Genetic Modification

My significant other, who will henceforth be referred to as Bubba, and I bought our first Pomegranate today.  They are a pretty fruit which produce edible little pearls.  We’ve had them on salads, and love the juice, but have never purchased one for home.  Checking out the produce section, Bubba asked, “Should we get a pomegranate?”

The pomegranate has symbolized many things throughout history including good luck, fertility, eternity, and good tidings.  These days, people are looking to pomegranates for treatment of everything from heart disease and high cholesterol to aging and erectile disfunction.  Neither of us were looking for any magic cures.  We just wanted to try something different.  And so the rosy sphere found its way into our cart.

Once home, our pomegranate waited patiently on the counter for lunch to arrive.  Groceries were stashed with the exception of a few left out for the meal.  Bubba concocted a couple sandwiches on toasted buns.  Sides of chips, pickles and a can of Coke for each of us were set out lovingly on t.v. trays.  Classy, I know.  That’s how we roll.

Meanwhile, I took on the pomegranate.  Prior to lunch there was no time for Googling.  Had there been, I surely would have run a search on how to open a pomegranate.  Left to my own devices, I hacked into the thing and started pulling it apart.

dscn0841Bubba turned to see how the process was coming and exclaimed, “Eeeeewww! What are those?”  At first glance, they did look a little alien, but after peeling a couple off, I was already over the eeeewww factor.  So I merely told him those were the membranes that separated the sections of seeds, as if that’s exactly what I expected to find in there.  The rind was more like a shell, and the seeds clung desperately inside.  Upon breaking the fruit, seeds exploded and skittered across the counter.

Since then, I have Googled pomegranate.  What did we do before Google?  Mostly, I tell my kids, we just sat around and wondered.  I learned that pomegranate, like the fig and grape, is one of the oldest known fruit.  The name pomegranate comes from the word pomme which means apple, and granate which refers to the seeds.  I also found the pomegranate blossom.  That is one messed up flower.  It looks like something one might find in the Little Shop of Horrors, and avoid at all costs.

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The pomegranate seeds were pretty when placed in bowl.  We couldn’t wait to try a few.  The ruby gems popped between the teeth.  Tart sweetness pleasantly surprised our tongues.  Then I bit down on the tiny pips.  They were too big to ignore and too small to spit out.  Thankfully the annoying little buggers weren’t as bitter as grape seeds.

As I was noshing the fruit along with my chips and sammy, I couldn’t help wondering if a little genetic modification couldn’t help the pomegranate.  After all, look how far the fig and grape have come.  Grapes now come in green, red, black, and both seeded and seedless.  And just look what we’ve done with the fig!

Fig Newtons

Pomegranates are beautiful in the store, the seeds look like jewels, and the juice is sweet and flavorful, not to mention healthy.  However, they could use a friendlier looking flower, an easy-open package, and those pips need to disappear.  I know this isn’t going to be a popular suggestion, but in my opinion, we have a little genetic modifying to do on the pomegranate.