Judge Not the Flower By Its Bud

bleeding heart (dicentra luxuriant)
Dearest Readers,

The following story is an excerpt from my book Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden, a book of 52 stories illustrating the universal wisdom drawn from working in my gardens.

Love and happy spring blessings!
Kathryn xoxo

Judge Not the Flower By Its Bud

Shortly after moving to my new home in North Carolina I discovered a bleeding heart plant growing in between the bushes in front of the house. I recognized it as a shade-loving plant and happily transplanted
it to a shady corner behind the house. As the little flowers emerged I was struck with disappointment and nostalgia, as these were not the same flowers I had come to love in California, the ones I knew well, the ones I had bought in nurseries at home. Two weeks later my heart filled with joy as I stumbled upon a nursery tucked below the road I had taken on errands, and outside in the various lovely displays I found another bleeding heart, with the very flowers that I associated with my home state. Delighted, I purchased it immediately, going straight home to plant it in a big clay pot I’d found on sale the week before.

Imagine my surprise when the following week I walked through the shade garden and found the little flowers I had snubbed the week before were identical to the ones I had just bought. Apparently I had never seen a bleeding heart in bud before, always opting to buy fully mature versions in nurseries, never having grown them from seed. I laughed at myself, realizing I had judged the flower by its bud, indeed, had not even recognized it as a bud! I began to wonder how many times I might have judged some creative effort, either my own or someone else’s, in the same manner. How many times have we encountered a fledgling effort and rejected it as not good enough, as a waste of time or as stupid? When had we been willing to bring forth the virtues of patience and close observation, and allowed the time to pass for full maturation, we might have found that what we first thought unacceptable grew to the loveliest of flowers that sustained us for many years.

Book News! Delighted to recount that Ode Magazine is running an excerpt from Plant Whatever Brings You Joy in their June issue. Doubly happy to say that as this particular story takes place in Amsterdam Ode Magazine has translated the story into Dutch (!!) and will additionally run in the Dutch version of Ode in Holland! As if that were not enough delight, in May Ode Magazine online is running the story of the Scarf Initiative project, in which so many of you lovingly and generously participated, replete with ten photos of that stupendous event! Exciting! I will be sure to post a link here and on Twitter once it’s up!

8 Responses to “Judge Not the Flower By Its Bud”

  1. What a lovely story and exquisite flowers!

  2. Hi, Gillian! Thank you! Do you have bleeding hearts in your locale? Kathryn xoxo

  3. Wonderful reminder, mom! Gorgeous pics, too! I do Love the delicate Beauty of Bleeding Heart flowers.

    Love you,

  4. Hi, Sweetheart! Thank you so much! Yes, bleeding hearts are especially precious. Wonder who named them?? Mom xoxo

  5. What great news, so pleased that your stories are getting out there. Here in Ohio woods we have two native versions of bleeding heart. They are smaller and white, one is Dutchman’s Breeches and one is Squirrel Corn. In the Dutchman’s Breeches, the pant legs go up. The Squirrel Corn looks more like a Bleeding Heart flower. They should just about be out in Ohio woodlands. My patch of toothwort in the yard is blooming and they are out at about the same time. Hugs from Ohio.

  6. Hi, Julie! Thank you for your kind support! Love hearing about the wild versions of bleeding hearts. Good to know they are around. Will have to google toothwort. Not familiar. Hugs from California! Kathryn xoxo

  7. Thank you for sharing the image of such havenly creation are you sure you don’t live in the wonderland? “)

  8. Hi, Abdul, I guess I do live in wonderland. It’s called California. 🙂 Kathryn xoxo

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