|Hydrangea in full bloom|
When Carol and I moved into our current house about seven years ago there were hardly any flowering plants in our yard. Little by little she planted more and more plants including a hydrangea, which, I think, was actually a gift from a friend. It grew larger that first year but never bloomed. We figured it was just too young to bloom. "Next year it will bloom," we said.
This went on for a few years. It became obvious that we just had the bad luck of planting a defective hydrangea plant.... the non-blooming variety apparently. It was still pretty with its bright green branches and leaves, growing fuller every year... just no blue or pink or white blooms like all other non-defective hydrangeas seem to have.
I finally decided to do some research last year on why our hydrangea never bloomed. After doing some very basic study on the topic, I felt a bit foolish after discovering that we did not, in fact, own a defective hydrangea. Our hydrangea had defective owners.
Turns out that different varieties of hydrangeas set their blooms for the next (or upcoming) season differently. Without trying to sound smarter than I am on the subject, let me condense it to this- there are two basic types of hydrangea- those that bloom from "old wood" and those that bloom from "new wood." "Old wood" are the stems and branches grown the prior season. "New wood" is what you see growing in springtime all nice and green. "Old wood" in the dormant season just looks like dead sticks.
If your variety of hydrangea blooms from "old wood" you can't just prune the ugly "dead looking" branches down to the ground at the end of the summer....that is, not if you want blooms the next year.
So, last fall I asked Carol to not cut back the hydrangeas like she had always done (just like we do with our lantana) to see if my newly found information applied to our bloom-less hydrangea.
Well, guess what?
|Our previously "defective" hydrangea|
Hydrangeas that bloom on "old wood" set their flower buds for the next year the previous summer. This includes the Mophead, Lacecap and Oakleaf varieties. Paniculates, Endless Summer Series and "Anabelle" varieties bloom from "new wood," meaning; they set their flower buds on the current season's growth.
All this hydrangea knowledge got me to thinking about how we as individuals "bloom." I think, like we saw with our hydrangea, we can sometimes get impatient and discouraged when we don't see results when we think they should come. Maybe it is someone that has struggled or worked hard or prayed and they feel like they should start to see some blooms. And when they don't they just hack everything back down to the ground believing that they are just not going to bloom. But I think that life can be like those hydrangeas. We may go through a season of life where we believe we are doing everything we are supposed to do to "bloom." And when it doesn't happen that season we hack away... we quit a job, we end a relationship or stop trying, we give up on our teenager, we switch churches or even give up on church altogether.
Or we give up on God. "Why haven't I bloomed by now?" we cry. Maybe we just have to give it some time...let the flower buds get set... and wait for the next season. Not all hydrangeas are the same.
The blooms will come.