I love springtime! The warmer weather and greening of the earth consoles my soul. All the new life around seems to murmur words of hope. Flowers especially make me feel so alive and in tune with nature, their beauty offering some peace.
Now I have a confession to make: The plants on my front porch are fake. I have fake porch plants for two reasons. First, summer is coming and with it blazing temperatures that will wilt natural foliage unless it is meticulously cared for. These plastic and fabric blooms don?t require that.
Second, everything needs to be watered daily and this requires finding someone to water things while I am away. And while our landscaping is maintained by an automatic drip system, any freestanding plants require individual care. I am admittedly lazy and to be truthful, fake flowers are pretty and very easy.
Many a time I have received compliments on my veranda garden. I just thank my admirers and then reveal to them the truth. I clearly have no shame.
The three pots sitting in an iron rack that hang neatly off the brick to the right of my front door have merry sprays of purple, white and pink varieties of foliage secured into Styro?foam to adorn this holder.
I also have a big blue ceramic pot that is perched on a table between my porch chairs. It is stuffed with blue, white and yellow artificial glory with some greenery tucked in and around the edges for added appeal.
I even have fake grass in the little sitting area?artificial turf ?rescued? from the trash after a local high school installed a new athletic stadium. This piece was destine for the landfill and we saved it. It fits nicely on my porch and makes it feel like a little a mecca complete with some hanging potted ?geraniums? suspended above the railing that encloses it.
The hanging plants light up at night and bathe my little porch in gentle unobtrusive light, giving it ambiance in the evening hours. I have even thought of adding a serenity fountain. How I love to sit out there and write. It?s where I am sitting as I write this.
During the fall and winter my ?plants? are easily stored in plastic garbage bags in our garage until we are ready to place them in their typical porch side places in the spring.
We usually wait until after April and the birds have already nested in trees and elsewhere before the hanging pre-lit geraniums go up.
This year we hung them in early May. Apparently, the unusually cool, damp weather must have put the birds behind schedule because they had only been up a week when I was startled by a sudden fluttering of wings from the hanging basket closest to the steps when I opened my front door.
?Oh no!? I thought as I stepped up to the basket. I angled it toward me and stood on tip-toe to peer into the center.
My intent was to destroy the makings of a freshly started nest and to take down the plant for another few weeks. I was taken aback when I saw not only a completely constructed nest but five brown-speckled, blue eggs belonging to a house wren.
I wasn?t going to be destroying anything. Instead, I whipped out my iPhone and took a few pictures to post on social media. It surprised me that upon seeing the eggs I was immediately filled with excitement. This was new life and it was happening in front of me on the safe haven of my porch. All I could think was about what a mess this was going to make and how wonderful it was at the exact same time. It made me laugh out loud. Isn?t that how this life is?
The mama wren has gotten used to us and now rarely is frightened into flight when we open and close the front door. I have to tap the basket to make her fly if I want to peek at her unhatched brood.
I am waiting in anticipation of seeing five peeping, hungry, open-beaked fledglings. I am not sure when they will hatch, but when they do I am sure I wail be filled with as much awe as I was on the day I discovered them.
New life is what spring is all about. The last five years many would say I have been given a second chance, and a third and a fourth. Actually, the way I see it, we only get one chance at this thing called life and every day it is wonderful, messy, awe inspiring and exciting.
Who would have thought that my fake plants and a little wren could remind me of that?