I love flowers. I always have.
I believe in their magical ways of transforming and enhancing any space.
I believe in the symbols that come to be associated with them.
And I believe that flowers do have their own language.
But there is one little flower that took even me, a true believer, by surprise… a Secret Phlox.
I have to step back a moment and give you a quick preliminary to my little story…
My daughter Jane had been dating her boyfriend Brian for about a year and a half. When things got serious, like marriage serious, Jane wondered (often aloud) about “the proposal.”
But Brian was as secretive as Jane was inquisitive.
One night in May, Brian did ask Barry and me to bless his wish to make Jane has bride. We were joyous… and promised to keep this a secret. Brian told us that he would take care of the rest.
We did keep Brian’s secret as we happily went about our lives (as difficult as it sometimes was to not let the secret burst out!).
It just so happens that during the month of May, I was writing a little segment of my 365 Days of Literacy for Kids – Fun, Easy & Completely Do-able called MAY FLOWERS. Each day, I wrote about a different flower… its meaning, its symbol, its history… for kids to learn about and enjoy.
I got my inspiration and most of my photographs for this segment from the flowers in my own gardens.
Until one day… May 17th, a Tuesday. It had rained torrentially the day before. The flower I had intended to photograph and write about… my Blueberry Blossom… was drooping, dripping, fallen and sad. All of my flowers were exhausted from the downpour.
Early on the morning of May 17th, I walked along my gardens, searching for some little sign of life… some flower to jump in and save the day. I peeked here and I peeked there. Most of my petals were closed for business.
I don’t have a large yard. Actually, it’s kind of postage-stamp sized small. But I do have nooks and crannies. It’s in one of these nooks and crannies, in-between our deck and a staircase, that I re-discovered a little rock garden that I had arranged (and then neglected) 5 years ago.
The sun was too hot there, the soil wasn’t moist enough, nothing seemed to grow there, and one of Jane’s dogs, Sethy, loved to dig deeply (and I mean deeply) into that soil to find any semblance of cool on hot summer days. I always wondered what Sethy saw in that little rock garden, but I always let him dig to his heart’s content because that little empty rock garden seemed to mean so much to him.
I would discover the secret and the meaning on May 17th, 2011.
As I passed that little rock garden, something caught my eye. It was something delicate and violet/purple colored. It was in a clay pot, the same clay pot that I had placed, 5 years ago, on a rock ledge a few feet above the garden… on top of the graduated rock staircase.
I stepped right into that rain-drenched soil of the rock garden for a better look.
It was Phlox growing in that clay pot. Delicate, lacy violet and purple hued Phlox. It was beautiful with tiny rain-drops shimmering on its little petals. It was mesmerizingly lovely on that gray morning… and then I remembered that I had planted Phlox in that clay pot all those years ago.
And pretty much forgotten about it.
The surprise of this May morning of drooping flowers was this Secret Phlox. I stepped further into the soil and took photographs of the Secret Phlox. I decided to research and write about Phlox that very day.
My research took me to magical places and magical creatures and magical ideas… like Greece and butterflies and deer and Sweet Dreams and Marriage Proposals. Everything delightful, everything joyous, everything sweet.
And so, on May 17th, 2011, I wrote about Phlox… but little did I really know the secrets it held…
For on that very day, Brian proposed to Jane.
All those years, that little Phlox was waiting in its secret place… waiting for the perfect day, the perfect moment, the perfect occasion to be re-discovered.
That little Phlox was holding the Sweet Dreams of a Marriage Proposal.
I almost couldn’t believe the magical turn of events on that ordinary Tuesday in May that became an extraordinary journey for Jane and Brian.
But I think… no, I know that the Secret Phlox knew all along. It was just waiting for the perfectly sweetest day!
And I know that Sethy was drawn to that little rock garden, too… God rest his beautiful soul… with its secrets of great joy and happiness that it held for his beautiful Mommy.
I love flowers. I always have.
And the Phlox will most definitely have a magnificent place at Jane & Brian’s wedding celebration!