Thursday, April 20, 2023

The Grape Hyacinths


Many years ago, shortly after my brother built his house, he cleared a bunch of rocks that peppered the old tomato field that was now his yard. He brought some of them to our house, where we added them to our rock gardens and used them to ring the cherry trees I had planted. Some soil came along with the rocks, and some grape hyacinth bulbs came with the soil. Grape hyacinths soon popped up around the cherry trees.

For years I have intended to dig up a few of the bulbs (along with some daffodils and irises) to transfer to the cemetery. I haven't done that for various reasons, most recently the proliferation of crocuses at our gravesite - I don't want to kill or disrupt them. The crocuses began to bloom in early March, shortly after my mother's funeral on March 2nd, and the last ones faded after the first week of April. After the crocus flowers fade, the crocuses will throw up long, thin leaves to absorb sunlight to build up energy for next year's bloom. 

I wanted to decorate the gravesite for Easter. I didn't want to do anything excessive, so I decided to pick up some artificial flowers at a dollar store. (The quality of dollar store flowers has become remarkable in recent years.) I tucked a few centered on each side of our tombstone, careful not to puncture the crocus corms. I spread them out so they overlapped the crocus leaves on either side of them. This turned out to be a good thing.

A week or so ago I noticed several grape hyacinths growing at the base of the tree near our grave. I considered transplanting one or two over to the soil around our grave, but decided against it. Later I spotted one growing on its own near the tombstone.

Monday morning I had to run an errand in Wilkes-Barre. The return trip took me past the cemetery, so I swung in for a visit.  I saw groundskeeping crews at work mowing the grass - the first time this season. As I approached our grave, I saw that they had also been to work with weed whackers, dutifully destroying all of the crocus leaves except the ones shielded by my artificial flowers. They had also trimmed the grape hyacinth near the stone to the ground, leaving shredded purplish-blue flowers to show where it had once been. 

But they had left the ones by the tree. That was something. So maybe those will spread and grow and gradually fill in the empty spots around the gravestone.

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