The Importance of Surprise Flowers


Milkweed growing in my garden. Sadly, it’s tropical milkweed–an annual plant, not a perennial. Still, it is milkweed.

I’ve had a rough week–it seems like homework in all the classes I teach got together and beat me up all at once. Each day I ask myself the question: “What did you grade today?” The answer is never enough.

Well, I know that in a bit over a week, the busiest time of my year will come to it’s inevitable end, and I look forward to breathing free again.

In the meantime, one reason I like gardening–it directs one’s attention to seasons, to ups and downs, to what might come next, to possibilities.

I noticed this pretty little flower growing in a crack in the pavement by the building my office is in. I am sure it wasn’t planted there, but it’s cheery to see.


Pretty little wild flower coming up in the crack between the parking lot and building at Warde Hall, MMU.

And when I got to work, an English professor came to my office to kindly give me a young Milkweed plant.

I planted some annual milkweed on Mother’s Day because they were giving it away at the Noelridge Park city greenhouse. But this is the real deal–Iowa native perennial Milkweed. If it survives transplanting, there is hope it may support generations of future Monarch Butterfly caterpillars.

No guarantees–that’s the other lesson of gardening. Just because you plant it doesn’t mean it will thrive and live, and while I’m doing my bit to try to help, there’s no guarantee of future Monarch generations, either.

Still, there is hope. And that’s a lot.


Thank you, Professor Carol Tyx! From her garden down south–Milkweed! Not sure how I will get it home–I ride a bicycle to work–but I’ll get it there somehow.


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Filed under Garden, Mount Mercy

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