Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Time for Growing is Now -- Why Wait Until You’re Too Old to Dream?

(My African Violets)
Today, one of the things on my “To Do” list was “find pots and plant Christmas cactus and Amaryllis.” The cactus was a broken branch that I discovered on the original plant. It was barely hanging on and was shriveling up for lack of moisture. I plopped it into a glass of water and watched it not only take root but come back to life. Now it would become the basis for another beautiful cactus.

The Amaryllis was a large bulb my son had given me a few years ago. The first year it had nine enormous blooms!  I didn’t know how to preserve the bulb and mistakenly put it in a paper bag in my refrigerator (“store in dark cool place, right?”). Wrong!  Apparently, the lack of air and the interaction with other produce is deadly to the root.

When I discovered this, I pulled it out, re-potted it and prayed for the best. For almost two years it failed to bloom. I kept caring for it hoping that some day it would not only reach for the light, but flower. Last year I got my wish. We had 12 blooms from this amazing bulb. Now because of cooler temperatures mid-winter, she is blooming again. We’ll see what happens. I keep this plant on my lanai, which is Florida speak for screened in patio.

I love to experiment with plants. My African violets, a gift from my oldest daughter, are blooming in my kitchen window. My Kalanchoe Jeans were in two pots. I planted them directly into the ground (after all, this is the “Tropics.”) and they are now blooming their hearts out. You can get almost anything to grow down here. The only thing I’ve had trouble with is Hydrangeas. Something about the sandy soil and the acidic quality it lacks. Even adding nutrients didn’t work.

(Kalanchoe Jean)
 It’s fascinating the way plants and animals alike take root and thrive in places where they feel grounded and comfortable. Give me a place where I can settle in and make my nest and I’m happy. In fact, you can turn a tiny apartment into a show place or a hovel into a home. It’s all about attitude and the skill to “make do.”

When I was a young newlywed, I learned how to use an old Singer sewing machine that was once my grandmother's. I made quilted and stitched quilt squares and circles that adorned our bare walls. I would purchase fabric remnants and imagine what I could do with them. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was the beginnings of my art career.

Art is all about beautifying space or making a statement. Look around at where you are right now. What could you do to enhance the space you’re in and the budget you have to work with? As one photographer said, “Find beauty in imperfection;” you can improvise and capitalize on what you have on hand.

This lovely Tiger Lily was a "jumping off" place for my imagination, and it inspired me to paint "Namesake" below, using acrylics on canvas. Let your thoughts run wild and then settle on the idea that drives you! 

 Creativity isn’t always about “selling” things or becoming famous. It’s about completing yourself and challenging yourself to become what you were meant to be and to do. 

Allowing yourself to spread your roots and grow in the direction that satisfies your long-held yearnings will make you happy. Begin creating now. Don’t wait until you’re too old to dream or imagine. Turn your “imperfection” into beauty.

(Lichen growing on a Southern Pine stump)