In the spirit of self-care, I took my cup of tea out onto the patio this morning and sat under my blooming silver lace vine.
I planted this vine next to our pergola 8 summers ago, when we had just arrived home from Papua New Guinea.
When I planted this vine, it was one twig with some roots attached. It was no bigger than my hand.
And now, in the heat of every Texas summer, this is what the silver lace vine does: it blooms and shelters and delights me.
I don't water the vine.
But then, I don't water anything in my garden.
I'd like to be able to tell you that I don't water because I'm environmentally conscious and I'm wanting to help save the planet, but the truth is, we don't have a sprinkler system and I'm too lazy to water by hand.
Xeriscaping doesn't happen on my watch by virtue. It happens purely by accident.
My gardening system evolved over several years, and it works like this. I go to the store and find plants that say "drought resistant." (I've learned that every summer in Texas is a drought, whether we call it one or not.) I buy a plant that looks likely, bring it home, put it in the ground, and completely neglect it. If it grows, I go back the next year and get more of the same.
Favorite plants that thrive under my tender loving neglect include lantana, all kinds of sage (silverado, autumn, salvia), artemisia, knock-out roses, rosemary, thyme, pink skullcap, and that silver lace vine. Also, the miraculous crepe myrtle tree that blooms all through July, right when it seems like no living thing can survive the burnt earth.
I also deeply loved an orange trumpet vine, until it turned out the thing had a serious Napoleon complex. It wanted to take over the world, starting with our lawn. Didn't matter that I planted it behind a sidewalk. It went under the sidewalk and started coming up all over the yard. I thought the beautiful orange blooms made up for its bad boundaries, but the yard guy (Andy) thought otherwise, and decided the trumpet vine must die.
Only it turned out to have zombie genes as well as imperialist ones.
Last summer Andy chopped the mother vine down, and spent weeks and weeks eradicating her babies as they popped up. Finally he got rid of it, but this spring we saw that it had gone UNDER THE DRIVEWAY, and it is now climbing up my neighbor's wall.
I just checked, and from the brown foliage I'm observing here, it looks like they've been spraying something on it to try to discourage it, not realizing that it's going to take holy water and a stake through the heart.
I could go over there and offer some coaching on trumpet vine elimination, but then I remember how excited Andy was when it finally went away, and why would we want to deprive them of the joy of a triumphal victory over an enemy.
Everybody needs a good fight story for inspiration.
Really, I'm doing them a favor.
All this to say, I love my summer flowers and I love sitting out on the patio with my morning cup of tea. I've sat countless mornings under that silver lace vine.
The vine is always making new flowers, which means it's always shedding old flowers, and when you sit under it, you get what Andy calls a flower shower.
This morning, as the teeny tiny flowers fell on me like butterfly kisses, I saw for the very first time that each of those flowers is made of hearts.
I've been sitting under a flower shower of love all this time without knowing it.
And isn't that a metaphor for life and Love.
This is my Father's world:
He shines in all that's fair.
In the rustling grass,
I hear Him pass.
He speaks to me everywhere.