“Earth Laughs in Flowers”

God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees and in the flowers and clouds and stars.    Martin Luther

Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words.  They are the hieroglyphics of angels loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning.  Lydia M. Child

Flowers always make people feel better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine to the soul.    Luther Burbank

We transplanted hundreds of geraniums yesterday at the greenhouse/flower shop where I work part-time in the winter and spring (a second job, it is more of a chance to move some muscles I haven’t moved in a long time and hang around with some creative people than it is a job). With names like Strawberry Blush, Red Velvet, and Black Magic, these sturdy, cheerful flowers will be highly sought after in a few short months.

Every flower seems to have its own particular beauty and brings out a different response in people.  As I said, geraniums are sturdy and cheerful – a strong, classic flower that people rely on as the backbone of potted arrangements.  They have been around a long time and may remind some people of their grandmothers.  New colors and habits can bring a modern twist to these flowers that seem to bring comfort and a feeling of stability.

Petunias are another flower we will be transplanting shortly.  With their filmy, fragrant petals, you would think they would be a fragile plant, but they are really quite rugged.  Each individual flower might be short-lived, but the plants produce so many blooms that they can be depended on to bring a riot of color all summer long in containers and beds.  They remind me that delicate beauty and strength are not mutually exclusive.

Roses, of course, are one of the most beautiful in the world of flowers.  They bring out a response in people that is almost spiritual, perhaps because they are thought to demonstrate the power of love.  It takes about 60,000 roses to produce an ounce of the precious essential oil which is said to transform and open closed hearts with its gentle, healing influence, and unlock old wounds so they can be released.  What a gift God has given us in the rose!

One of the first flowers we look forward to seeing in the spring is the graceful and elegant tulip.  Sometimes seen blooming even in the snow, they are a reminder that spring can be counted on to follow winter, and they teach us that something of great beauty can come out of a brown bulb and some time in the cold and darkness.  (What beauty can come from the cold, dark times in our lives?) My father-in-law used to grow thousands of them, and I don’t think I have seen a more beautiful sight than his garden with the colorful tulips in bloom.

This week as we celebrate love in its many forms, I thought these words from Thich Nhat Hanh were appropriate: “The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence.  When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”  (It probably wouldn’t hurt to give some flowers too!)

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