Follow me on the crazy, hopeful, discouraging, funny, and ultimately successful (one way or another) path to parenthood while facing infertility.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Little Lupine That Could

I love lupines. They are so beautiful, wild, and they remind me of Maine. In Maine they grow in scads by the roadsides like purple loosestrife and blue cornflowers do here in New York. They range from purple to pink in nature. You can buy them for the garden in all kinds of garish colors like bright red, yellow, and a bright blue with white tips, but I love the ones that look like they would grow in a meadow on the way to Bar Harbor. Especially since we are on year number two of not being able to go to the camp we enjoy visiting in the Bar Harbor area, where we experience the deepest relaxation I have ever enjoyed and get into some serious nature appreciation. Thank you, infertility, for stealing our summer vacation from us.

Anyway, I have tried to replicate the beauty of lupines in my garden for years now, with no success. They just don't take in my garden. Other gardeners in my neighborhood have said the same--"I just can't get lupines to grow here!" I remember when I moved to Rochester my stepfather's parents, who were both Master Gardeners, were super excited because that zone was great for lupines. They couldn't grow them in New Jersey, and so Mum Wheelhouse (they were from Yorkshire) gave me a seed packet and said with glee and a very thick accent, "You'll be able to grow loooopines!" Well, my first house in Rochester was with He Who Must Not Be Named, and I did not yet have a fully developed green thumb. (Coincidence? I think not. I couldn't grow things like the dickens until I was in a healthy, happy household with a good man and a good relationship.) The seeds languished on the kitchen counter and died a horrible death. But I never forgot that I should totally grow looopines, even though the only ones I had ever seen were the clownish hybrid variety and I didn't get the appeal.

Fastforward to going to Maine for the summer with Bryce for the first time, and witnessing the glory that is a swath of pink and purple lupines in the wild. Now I got it. They were gorgeous. I had to grow them. Bonus that they attract butterflies. I planted some established lupine pots three years ago. They died. Not just an average death, but a HORRIBLE wasting and stunting that I just didn't understand. Never fear, I don't give up easily. (This should be obvious by now in my journey.) Last year, year two, I planted lupine plants that Bryce gave me as part of my butterfly garden. They were to be deep pink and they looked pretty healthy. I planted them, and they...died. A horrible death. One actually dried up and withered away to dust, much like the Nazi guy in Raiders of the Lost Ark but in slow motion. I began to think that my yard had been cursed by an evil fairytale witch, "And as long as this house shall stand, absolutely no lupines will ever grow in its soil! Nor will babies be born to the inhabitants of this dwelling! Mwah-ah-ah!" This may seem paranoid and nutty, but then again, given our track record on both fronts, not so much. So I bought ANOTHER set of lupine plants, these large established pots again, from a local nursery, different from the first. I planted them in my side garden, in a different place than I'd tried before. They did ok. They stayed small, they didn't bloom, but they didn't wither and waste and die, either. The end of the season came and they were pretty much the same size as when I planted them and not a single bud had appeared. I chalked it up to the fact that lupines just don't want to grow here and maybe I should just give it up.

But now, in Year Three, my lupines came back. With a vengeance. They are robust and bushy and sending up new leaves all the time. And one of them sent up a bud! And that bud is just now starting to flower. These lupine plants were mysteries, as I bought them towards the end of the season and they didn't have a label. I had no idea what color they would be. This one is pink, and it is beautiful:


Pink lupine among the Korean lilacs, which smell incredible.

This lupine finally made it. After three years of trying and four attempts with different plants, it is finally fertile and flowering. I don't know if I finally have the lupine magic touch or if the conditions were just right for this miracle to occur, for the lupine to become fruitful. What I do know is that I tried and tried for years to get lupines to be successful in my garden and had failed attempt after failed attempt. Finally, this year, it happened. I am really hoping that this is not a coincidence, and that this is a trend of things to come. I am hoping that the Little Lupine That Could will be followed by the Little Babyling That Could, because they have similar stories. It sure seems like a fine allegory to me. Please, please, let this flower miracle be a good omen for this summer's efforts in our neverending saga of trying to get something special that we've planted with care to grow and flower inside my body.

12 comments:

  1. I love lupines! Make sure to take a picture when it is fully in bloom!

    I hope that the lupine is sign of good things to come this year for you!

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    1. Absolutely! This is a hardy one because we've had a lot of really heavy rain and it is still standing and perky... They really are such pretty flowers.

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  2. Yes, yes, yes. I am absolutely interpreting this as a good omen. And also, I'm totally living vicariously through you in that I don't have a yard at all and would LOVE to garden like this. (-:

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    1. Oh good, because sometimes I read way too much into weird things...but this seemed like a good little piece of symbolism. Can you container garden? Gardening is such wonderful therapy and it is so gratifying to see the beauty that you helped create. A friend of mine lived in an apartment in NYC and she had beautiful little pots on her fire escape/terrace...

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  3. Your writing is so descriptive and before I even got to the end where you said you hope this is a trend, I was thinking that this has got to be a sign of things to come for you. I hope so!

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    1. Thank you! This post actually started as me posting the picture to facebook, and as I was typing, "I've tried for three years to get lupines to grow and this one is finally blooming!" I was like, screw facebook, this is a blog post! :)

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  4. Yes! Such a good omen!! So excited for you both and so happy you received this sign of hope!

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    1. Thanks, lady! I am trying to strike that balance between hopeful, realistic, and crazypants. I think this little beacon of hope fits all but crazypants... :)

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  5. I'm not familiar with lupines (maybe they only grow in cooler climates- I'm in the South?) but they look really pretty. I do hope this is a good omen! I am a vegetable gardener and plan to put out some more veggies this weekend, but maybe I should try some flowers too. Crossing my fingers, toes, and maybe not eyes for this cycle for both of us!

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    1. Thanks! They are definitely cooler climate flowers, but you must have some gorgeous tropical beauties! I still have to get the majority of my veggies in my beds for this year, I am slow on the uptake this year and only have my Birthday Tomatoes getting taller every day. I hope the lupine luck knows no gardening zones and hits you too on this cycle! :)

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  6. This is definitely some good juju! I have absolutely no success in growing any form of plant with the exception of SUPER hardy succulents, so way to persevere and get that beautiful lupine! P.S. I totally love your blog even more because you incorporated both an evil laugh AND a reference to Raiders of the Lost Ark. :)

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    1. So glad to have found a fellow nerdy soul sister! :) I can't grow a thing inside though. My green thumb is limited to the outdoors... And I'll take the good juju! :) Sending some your way too...that wait is hard.

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