Friday, May 19, 2023

A Little Story About How Flowers Inspired Me To Grow by Merri Maywether

Nine years. After nine years, I finally figured out how to garden in Montana. 

For most of my life, I lived in Phoenix, Arizona. I knew about leaf structure, watering patterns, and what to do when the plants were stressed by a storm. 

Then we moved to Montana, and I inherited my mother-in-law’s garden. I suppose everyone talking about how Irene's garden was beautiful was meant to inspire.

It stressed me out. I didn’t know the difference between the flowers and weeds. 

In my first year here, I pulled out a huge chunk of sweet peas because I thought they were alfalfa. 

I was afraid to use Round-Up because I thought for sure I’d kill the wrong plant. So I tried to hand pull the grass and dandelions (once they bloomed.) That was a nightmare.

One year, I nurtured what I hoped was a sunflower to discover that it was the start of a tree. It was months of watering and waiting for a big yellow bloom that never appeared. 

Despite the setbacks, the garden survived. The sweet peas grew back. I learned which sprigs of grass could be sprayed and when hand pulling was a better method...and sunflower leaves do not start out looking like cottonwood leaves.

And, thanks to the tulips and the grape hyacinth, there was an inspirational message in the garden. The tulips are at least sixty years old. For years they were short or didn’t bloom. Every year they came back and gave me a chance to get it right so they could showcase their beauty. My inability didn't prohibit their attempts to add some color to the world. Lord love those flowers, they waited for me to get it right. And nine years later, I finally did it.

Now, every morning I go outside and marvel. The colors! The variety of flowers! Every day, I'm looking for a new blossom, and every day, something new is there to brighten our view of the world.

My garden story has many similarities to the plot line in a romance novel. Like the characters in a love story, I started out trying to do something that would contribute to our little slice of the world. I fumbled a lot. Yet, with each step, someone came along and offered doable advice. Like the characters in romance novels, this experience has taught me some deep lessons.

I learned to be kind to myself. We all need to remember that message. In stories and life.

I learned to nurture the flowers to the best of my ability. Life and relationships don't come with rules. But if we nurture them with the intention of growing in a healthy way, we'll make progress. Again, that's what we see in characters and hopefully ourselves.

I learned to keep trying until I got it right. 

And finally, nine years later, there is still some room for growth, but I am happy.

Look at how beautiful those flowers are.  

Another thing I’ve learned through this journey is flowers vary from one geographical region to the other. Let's turn this read into a conversation. Comment either in the Sweet Reads Facebook group or in the comment section below. What lovely things are growing in your part of the world? 


Three full-length novels. Three best friends in their early forties. Three happily ever afters. 

Review for Get Well Soon 

"A Humorous Love Story"

Review for Welcome Home

"It gave me all of the hometown vibes."

Review for Home Sweet Home

"A well-written story that kept me turning pages."

For a limited time, Welcome To Three Creeks, Montana, is available for 99¢ at your favorite online ebook retailer.

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