Last winter on the east coast, and in many other places of the United States, we experienced an unusually cold winter. I was saddened this spring when a favorite hydrangea bush that I had started from a transplant many years ago from a hydrangea in my mother’s garden didn’t seem to be doing too well. It was well into June and there still didn’t seem to be any new growth. I was afraid it had become a victim of the harsh winter.
It was suggested by a friend who is an accomplished gardener that I cut the old wood way back, almost to the ground. My friend said there wouldn’t be any blooms this year but that, hopefully, the bush would grow foliage and resume its normal routine. So I patiently watered it and waited. By August it was back to its normal full size and looked great, even if it was missing its normally beautiful blooms. All during the summer I commiserated with fellow mop-top hydrangea fans who were experiencing the same disappointment and who were looking forward to next summer’s blooms.
So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I noticed a few weeks ago, as I was doing the dishes and looked out the kitchen window, that there was a small bud starting to develop. In fact, as I went out and looked more carefully, I found there were actually three different places that looked like they were going to bloom. I have no idea how this happened because hydrangea bloom on the old wood and I had pruned the old wood pretty much all the way to the ground in my effort to preserve the bush back in early summer. My only explanation is that there must have been enough of a branch or two left after the pruning process to sustain the new blooms.
This week I took a picture of one of the blooms. It is less than half the size of a normal bloom but I think it’s beautiful! With colder temperatures expected this coming weekend, I know it will have a shorter than normal lifespan, but I have to say I’ve enjoyed watching these three little blooms even more than some years when the bush has been loaded with blooms all summer. I’m grateful for the resiliency of life, for the grace of an unexpected gift and for the lovely reminder that our timing is not God’s timing. God can always bring new life!