One of the great things about gardening at an old house is the untold number of gardeners who've been there before you. Some of their handiwork is very obvious: the monstrous azaleas that flank the front steps, evergreen and tidy (with regular pruning!) that burst into hot pink glorious-ness at the first hint of spring; the deep-blue hydrangea at the corner of the front porch that blooms all summer and marks North East truer than the truest compass; the stately line of pecan trees that marches down the side yard, shading the house in summer, allowing the sun to warm us in the winter, and providing enough nuts for dozens of pies and cookies and brownies in between.
There are also the not-so-obvious things: the clumps of snowbells that randomly sprout and bloom near the front steps and in the side yard - out of zone and out of season and charming with their tiny white-with-green-polka-dots flowers; the amazing not-an-agapanthus that became three huge plants when I dug it up and moved it earlier this year (which is, by the way, something called a crinum lily and which continues to bloom at regular intervals. This picture was taken about an hour ago using the "night" setting on my camera); the confederate jasmine that has exploded in the corner where the hose-holder-with-faucet lives and which I am training to run down the railing of the back steps.
And, then, there is this:
One lone beautiful red lily that sprouted in the middle of the side yard. I've been here three summers now, and never seen that lily before. And if weeks of intermittent afternoon rains combined with these endless weeks in a sling hadn't conspired to keep us from mowing the grass, that lily wouldn't have stood a chance. I dug it up (obviously) and have every intention of replanting it in the back yard...and when I did, I also found these:
a handful of bulbs, each one waiting to be another lily! Some are now planted by the back gate and some have moved around the corner to my mama's house. All of them are a reminder that at least some of what we do in our brief time on this earth lasts, in ways we cannot possibly imagine, for years and years after we are gone.