Nurturing Our Potential to Flower

My garden is one of my greatest teachers. At this point in the summer, it is lush and overgrown from all the rain we’ve had these last months. No matter how much weeding I do, the garden continues to have its own life — filling in, spreading, climbing higher, taking its full space.

Like most gardeners, I purchased extra plants at the beginning of the season to fill in here and there as my mood for various annuals and perennials changes over the years. Because we had such an extremely cold winter in the Northeast, I had to replenish more than the usual amount of perennials. I dug most of them into their new locations, except for the few I never got to.

One of the plants I’ve taken real pleasure in this summer is Echinacea. As most of you know, this plant has very healing properties. I also love its papery purple and white flowers. I planted the Echinaceas in generous areas of the garden so they could grow and expand, except for one lone white Echinacea that never made it into the garden, and has stayed in its small pot on the patio.

The timing of how each species of plant goes into flower or fruit is always miraculous to me. Sipping tea in my garden one morning, the white Echinacea caught my attention. I noticed how stunted the plant looked in the pot: even though it flowered, the heads were small and the stems were thin. By contrast, the ones planted in the garden with plenty of space and fertile compost have thrived and are now abundant with flowers.

The white Echinacea reminded me of a question I have been paying attention to most of my life: How do we feed and give space to allow our greatest flowering potential? We can live in small, contained pots or transplant ourselves to a more spacious area where we can be nourished more deeply and flower more vibrantly.