In the past weeks, I have been completely overtaken by a miracle that is occurring in a crack in our driveway. A few weeks ago while taking out some weeds that had taken root in the myriad of cracks in the driveway, I noticed a leaf I recognized. My suspcicion was that it was a Black Eyed Susan or Echinacea, but certainly not a weed. Set in a shadier section, I didn’t really believe there was enough sunlight to coerce a beautiful bloom from its tight-lipped bud. Growing from a crack, I was confident the roots wouldn’t be able to sink far enough down to allow the stem to hold itself up. I let it go, curious to see what would happen, but not really believing it would bloom.
Rudbeckia hirta, or Black-Eyed Susan’s seeds are so miniscule it’s hard to even direct their path to the patch of dirt you want them to grow in. So back in spring of 2010, after purchasing a packet at your basic chain garden store for $1.29, I scattered the seeds in a spot along a walkway in front of a wooden fence. I wasn’t really certain where they had fallen, but tamped the dirt in the area and water, believing that something would grow. Just enough bloomed later in the summer to enjoy from our sunroom window. Here and there, I cut a few for small bud vases around our house. The show was not prolific but I was hopeful, based on the plants reputation, next year would be a different story.
The heat of the air that summer turned to a crisp coolness and the last of the maple leaves fell in our front yard. The time of raking had begun. I left the stalks of the Black-Eyed Susans remain in their happy patch through fall, until all the green had drained from their stalks. Looking like brittle dry bones sticking out of the ground, I broke them off and tossed the stalks in the compost pile. The time of waiting and planning for next year’s plantings had begun.
So, seeds. You plan, you sow, you wait, you tend, but you are never really certain of what will take hold. I have a cutting of my grandmother’s hydrangea that I transplanted earlier this spring that I really, really want to bloom for sentimental and practical reasons. It isn’t and I don’t know why. Maybe I miscalculated the sun exposure or the dirt isn’t enriched enough. I don’t know, but I will spend time transplanting it again, trying to find that sweet spot.
And then there’s my asphalt anomaly. The miracle I didn’t ask for, but will pay attention to. The seed that didn’t listen to the evening news and saw fit to take root and bloom in a crazy but hopeful persons driveway. Yeah, you in the yellow, you’re the seed that instructs me to be the sower and not attempt to be the wind.