Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Plant to Refresh a Summer

It would be easy to get depressed in the middle of a summer like this.

The heat wave goes on with very little relief. The heat index here at the beach registered 112F late this afternoon.

Family members continue to battle assorted health problems.

And sweet ol' Sadie Superdawg's summer walking days are over. After nearly 15 years of rarely missing a day of walking, we are sitting out this summer. She pants heavily without exertion and stumbles often in a backyard stroll.

It makes me mighty afraid that she wouldn't make it back on one of these scorching days. Heck, the humidity makes catching your breath still difficult after nightfall.

For that matter, I might not make it back on one of these blistering, stifling days. I hope fall will bring a revival of our super-duper Superdawg walks.

For a spot of cheer right now, though, you need look no farther than our house's back corner, where the sun beats down all day long. There thrives our miracle plant, the Lantana. I just found out online that the most hard-baked place you have in your yard is just the spot for the Lantana. It defies drought. It doesn't need a lot of TLC.

And it even defies death. In the winter, it withers to the deadest-looking collection of brittle twigs you can imagine. I almost dug it up the first winter here. Sheer laziness was probably all that kept me from doing it. I did trim it back. Then, to my astonishment, tiny sprouts of life start to appear in June, and for the rest of summer and well into the fall, the Lantana just spreads out and produces cheerful blossoms (mine are pink and yellow) in great profusion.

The butterflies and the hummingbirds love it. And so do I because no maintenance is required. I sometimes give it a drink of water, but judging from the plant-and-garden write-ups, the Lantana doesn't really need much moisture.

So I will just sit on the patio in what passes for the cool of the morning or evening and marvel at our miracle plant.

It is a good reminder that life can regenerate when there is still a spark.

Thank you, beautiful Lantana. Long may you thrive.

                                        © Robert G. Holland  2015

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