My Unexpected Homecoming Party

I admit it. I neglected my garden for some months now and I feel absolutely terrible!

First, helplessness set in. I bit of more that I could possibly chew. Being obsessive with seed sprouting and propagation got the better of me. What had started as a detox activity turned into something that consumed most of my mornings, and kept me from leaving home. I just couldn’t trust anyone else to care for my seedlings that I ended up being burdened by constant attention I thought they all needed from me. So, I shut down and turned away to try and gain a bit of freedom back.

Then, the wet season started, with typhoon after typhoon beating down on my seedlings. The winds knocked off a lot of my trays and mini pots. Potting medium got washed away, tiny roots and struggling plants eventually withered and rotted away.

Lastly, my recent struggle with hysterectomy obliterated all hope of directing any attention to my garden.

I woke up this morning to my usual routine of having my coffee at porch. Having just gone home, a week after surgery, each step I took to get to my coffee spot was laborious at best.The front door opened to a foggy, almost ethereal scene. My eyes spotted this beautiful flower in the distance.



My Hibiscus Acetosella Red Shield finally bloomed!!! And just like that, my steps, though still laborious, had a purpose. The wet, slippery ground didn’t matter at all. I pushed myself to walk to the row of potted Red Shield plants in the distance. I stood there just admiring the flowers, completely astonished how they survived my neglect and bloomed as if to cheer me up like a homecoming party!

What’s so special about this hibiscus?… you might wonder.

A while back, I had failed at Japanese Red Maple seedlings. My blog tells it all: Serendipity « Rica Rants & Raves.

Hibiscus Acetosella Red Shield, with its maple-like leaves, was to replace the Japanese Red Maple plants I had planned for my garden so I hovered over the rich dark green and maroon leafed plants like a hawk for many months. I hadn’t seen this variety in any garden here in the Philippines so I was determined to get my seedlings established. Its unusual, almost haunting foliage was an important feature I wanted for my garden. The bright salmon-colored blooms would just be a bonus, if I could get them to bloom at all.

So many buds are waiting to bloom, even with my shameful neglect.


The rest of my morning was spent carefully walking around the garden, inspecting survivors and identifying plants to prune, repot and relocate.

Just when I thought I had given up on my garden, a little flower convinced me that it’s possible to just let my plants flourish and bloom on their own.

I’m done with neurotic gardening. From this day on, I will let nature do what it does so well. With this critical acceptance, I know that gardening will always be part of my day. Gardening will be fun and relaxing, as I had initially planned it to be.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)



  1. Malou

    I’ve always enjoyed reading your blogs. I wish you’d blog often. I hope you feel better. Take care!

    • Awww. Thanks, Malou.
      I’ve always wondered if any of my readers really notice when I don’t post as often as I used to. Like the little Red Shield flower, you’ve just inspired me to keep sharing my world. 🙂

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