This spring, I planted an elephant ear.
I am a starter. I love to start things.
I’m not the best finisher. Oh, it’s not that I can’t finish. I finish a lot. In fact, I finish most of the things that I start. But the first 10% of any project or task is more interesting and garners so much more of my passion than the last 90%.
So it is with working in the yard. Each spring, I have high hopes about what I want to do in the yard. This year, it was The Great Sod Experiment of 2010. I bought, loaded, unloaded, unrolled, installed and watered incessantly 40 rolls of sod in an area of my yard where, in previous springs, I had tried to grow grass. I stuck to it and now, I have a pretty ugly, patchy area of grass inconsistently dispersed over about 1/2 of the area. Believe it or not, it’s an improvement.
In previous years, I’ve groomed natural areas with mulch, planted azaleas, bedding plants…you name it…only to arrive in mid-June wishing the endeavors were still new and lamenting the 90% of the work that remained.
All of which brings me back to the elephant ear. Aprill and I went to the Southern Spring show one Friday night in late February or March. We walked around, saw all the beautiful things that could be accomplished by great finishers, and finally wandered into the area I call the bazaar. The bazaar is where local (and sometimes national) vendors set up temporary shop selling everything from hot tubs, outdoor lighting, fresh-roasted peanuts, wine, mosquito repellant, gutters and drain uncloggers to…elephant ears.
They grow from bulbs. Big bulbs…large bulbs…gigantic bulbs…about the size of a softball. The salesperson instructed me on when and how to plant it. I listened intently, then left the bazaar with my elephant ear bulb (and five tubes of an ointment for mosquito bites that has proven to be absolutely worthless).
When April 15th rolled around, I paid my taxes, wept and then headed to the yard to plant my elephant ear. Six inches deep, face up. (It has this kinda face appearance on one side. No trunk.)
Days passed. Weeks. A month. No sight of an elephant ear. No ears at all. Then, close to the end of May, three leaves appeared. Then five. They seemed to be a foot high the first day. Then two feet. Then more leaves.
Now, the elephant ear is enormous. It’s a glorious plant, and occupies a prominent place in one of two flower beds just off our patio and adjacent to TGSE 2010 (see above).
Best of all, there was nothing to finish. I started it, and God did the rest.