Who would ever have thought that a very small, fluffy pink flower called Echinacea Double Scoop Bubble Gum could stand up to all the other plants in my yard and put them to shame? I planted four of them late in the season last year in a fool-hardy attempt to create some interest around a tree trunk. Fool hardy because trees notoriously take all the water that comes their way, leaving little for any other plants hoping to survive in close proximity, and also because the tiny plants were directly in the favored path of our two garden-wrecking, squirrel-chasing dogs. If that were not enough, I barely watered or otherwise cared for these little echinaceas because they weren’t in any of the three flower beds that commanded most of my attention. I readily admit I forgot all about them.
So this spring, I was not surprised to find they had all died. I looked at the barren earth where they had been, and felt a twinge of guilt. I should have taken better care of them. I expect all my plants to be hardy, but no plant could have survived under those circumstances; I should have recognized that before it was too late. And then I shook off my regret and turned my thoughts to my flower beds without a backward glance at the tree trunk.
Not too long after that, I almost stepped on two tiny shoots by the tree. Weeds, I thought. They grow under any conditions. As I had too much weeding to do elsewhere, I ignored them and put them on my future to-do list. They got a bit taller. I still ignored them, spending my limited time making the rest of the garden shine, paying attention to what was already beautiful. And then, despite thirst, canine assault, sheer neglect, and ridiculous heat, two tiny echinaceas bloomed, showing they had more grit than any other coddled plant in my yard. Here is one of them, looking a bit worse for the wear, but outshining its peers in every measure.