A Reformed Snob

Adversity has taught this gardener to cherish every flower that blooms, no matter what its color or its smell.

reformed snob

Photo: Julio Pinto (flickr)

Fire's ball marigold.

I used to be quite a snob about flowers that grow so easily that they seem to be growing everywhere. For instance, I used to be quite dismissive about marigolds, as I disliked the smell. It took me years to realize that many commonly grown flowers, in addition to being pretty, possess other reliable characteristics, such as drought and heat tolerance and resistance to pests.

After failing with zillions of more finicky plants that died as soon as a heat wave or drought struck, I finally decided that marigolds are actually quite appealing. When deer began to frequent my yard, I actually fell in love with marigolds. Now when people ask me about my favorite flowers, I rattle off a list that includes only deer resistant species. The defining attribute for any plant to win my popularity contest, is that it is not popular with deer.

Of course deer will eat anything if they are hungry enough. One year I noticed that they did not eat my butterfly weed, so I didn’t bother to spray it. Since I sprayed everything else, guess what they then gobbled up?

Adversity, (and that for me is currently spelled DEER), is a great teacher. It has taught a gardener like me to cherish every flower that blooms, no matter what its color or its smell. Because, of course, we eventually come to realize that at different times and in different places in our gardens, any type of flower may suddenly seem to be just perfect.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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