When winter comes, I turn my back on the flowers I’ve loved all season. See you next spring, if you make it, I say, and then they’re on their own. Well, that’s one difference between my friend Julie Zickefoose and me. She’s a mom, for keeps, and she will tuck her tender plants into her greenhouse and turn on the heat and read to them when they’re sick, and come spring they will lick her face and be ready to go out and play, and some of them will have wrens nesting in them that need to be tended to as well. And somehow everybody will get the care he or she needs. Julie is the sort to see everyone’s potential. That’s what happens when you spend a lot of time caring for baby birds. You see what a wonderful thing can come from what looks, at first, to be an articulated loogey.

An Articulated Loogey

So we were hauling things out of her greenhouse, and she comes upon a bucket of something or other and says “Oh! Would you like some tuberoses?” and then she shovels something into a Ziploc bag for me and that’s how I came home with a suitcase full of tuberoses, whatever they are. They look like dried-up old men’s ears and noses with the sproingy hairs still attached. I do have faith, as much as any mustard seed, and my faith tells me that Julie would not steer me wrong, but my faith does not go so far as to tell me these particular plants are going to make it. I do not know what a tuberose looks like, and that’s not a good sign. It means probably no one grows them in my area and if no one grows them in my area there’s probably a good reason.

Still, I’m giving it a go. I went to the Googles and looked up tuberose, and this is what I found, from a Derek Dyer:

Before you begin to plant/order your bulbs, I want to share this with you: The tuberose is one of the most beautiful flowers that our GOD has placed upon His creation. What a blessing it will be for you and your family to witness the tuberoses growing. I tell my customers that the tuberose is e-z to grow, a very hardy plant and that it is “tuff as nails” and to just wait patiently after planting on the Lord (see Psalm 27:14 KJV). Thank you and enjoy!!

Well, I’m all for giving credit where credit is due, but right away I see a problem. I expect most anything would thrive if planted on the Lord, but all I have to plant on is a fudgy acidic clay studded with river rocks. The rocks are all over, and everyone in Portland complains about them. They came to us courtesy of the Bretz Floods, which repeatedly inundated this area about 15,000 years ago, when, by some accounts, the world was without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep. The Bretz Floods are named after J Harlen Bretz, who had an uphill battle persuading anyone he was not nuts. Darwin had changed the scientific scene, and incrementalism was now in favor, so explaining things using floods of biblical proportions was no longer fashionable. But Mr. Bretz was proven out, and we now know our garden rocks came to us from Montana. The Lord in his wisdom knew that we would eventually invent the post-hole digger, and he sent us all these rocks in order to make us meek, putting us in a good position to inherit the earth.

So that’s what I have to plant my tuberoses in. I’ll be pulling for them, but it looks like they want a long growing season, which means I should have started them months ago, when it rained for forty days and nights, and that was just in March. It’s not going to be easy in an area we don’t always eke out a tomato.

I looked up the psalm to see if there were any specific gardening instructions but it just told me to wait on the Lord. And that’s fine with me. I’ve been waiting for ten years for my frost-free gardenia to either bloom or die outright, so I’ve got lots of patience. I’m just afraid I’ll wait all summer and find out the Lord is hanging out in Acapulco with the tuberoses.