Beauty is fleeting, but hardy souls persist

The Examiner

Meanwhile, back with singing the joys of spring, tra la, I bravely ventured forth unto the nursery the other day so I could refill my extremely sorry looking pots with all things floral and herbal.

That sounds a whole lot grander than the reality – I have two herb pots and two flower pots, and I must admit they run the gamut of my expertise in gardening.

Annie Dear

I have thyme and chives – the thyme for the time (pardon the pun) when I cook steaks on the stove rather than the barbecue, and the chives for when I make my award-winning, positively mouth-watering scrambled eggs (recipe will be provided upon application).

My flower pots have seen a variety of plants, and I’ve now narrowed down my renowned successes to one – the trailing periwinkle, which with great bravado its name doesn’t remotely suggest, is drought-resistant and can tolerate all manner of sun. This is the nurseryman’s lingo for “pretty much maintenance-free any idiot (especially Annie Dear) can manage without killing it”.

I’m not sure from whom I followed in the gene department to have been benighted with black thumbs. My parents were very keen gardeners and together they created a pretty spectacular yard. I need robust plants who, like cats, can be fairly happily ignored until they start showing signs of abandonment at which time I set the hose on them and they come right. I might add that setting the hose on the cats when they’re feeling unloved doesn’t engender the same spirit of “gee thanks.”

You can imagine the scene at the nursery over the weekend. The line just to get in line for the check-out counters snaked its way all the way back through the nursery so far that I almost needed a thermos of coffee and a cut lunch to find the end of the queue.

So there I shuffled along with my pathetic looking purchases, naturally having a bit of a chat with the guy behind me, whose cart was positively busting with magnificent specimens, one of which was a glorious hibiscus in a luscious yellow.

It staggers me, coming from Oz where there’s not a flake of snow, that this flower can survive a Missouri winter. We have a neighbor who has one permanently planted in the front yard, and it brings me great joy to see its scarlet blooms each year.

He also had a number of little pots of lantana. A very pretty plant with cutesy tiny pink and yellow flowers. Like many imports to Australia – both flora and fauna  – lantana decided that Oz was indeed the land of Oz, and will happily – and I might add a little maliciously – take over the world as we know it if left untended.  t’s actually classified as a noxious weed over there, and is to be ruthlessly dealt with, with indecent haste.

With a sigh, I will content myself with my paltry pots, and rejoice in the fact that my peonies in the actual garden beds are budding gang-busters, my crabapple blossomed with gay abandon and both provide me with a short-lived but heartfelt joy, knowing I can do them no harm.

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at