Serendipity Gardens: Flowers can operate as more than a lawn pick-me-up for garden enthusiasts

Published 9:00 am Saturday, January 6, 2018

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

Over the years I have collected some wonderful books on flowers and gardening. I have also come to realize that many of these same people who wrote those books have the same passion that I do. In the last couple of years, I have met some wonderful people who also exhibit this passion for flowers, gardening and nature and I have so enjoyed our visits and talks about these passions. We all have different backgrounds and yet we have this common love that we can share with each other and pass on things that benefit each of us.

In one of those books I collected is a quote from one of my favorite authors, Celia Thaxter: “He who is born with a silver spoon in his mouth is generally considered a fortunate person, but his good fortune is small compared to that of the happy mortal who enters this world with a passion for flowers in his soul.”

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Sometimes this passion has almost become an obsession for me. I am sure people often think I have carried it a bit too far as I try to express my love of all things flowers and gardening that have captured my soul. Princess Grace of Monaco was another lover of flowers, and she wrote this in “Flowers of Inspiration,” which is in the same book that I quoted from before: “Flowers have been the inspiration of poets and writers since time immemorial. Their very names — periwinkle, delphinium, dianthus, briar rose, heliotrope, columbine and morning glory — spill from the tongue in sweet sounds. Flowers symbolize the evanescence of human life. They are omens of love and hope. Of beauty and promise. Even of death.”

Flowers have connected me with people who have been a part of my life. My mother loved flowers and my brothers also love flowers, as well as a sister, great-grandmother, a neighbor in my childhood, an uncle and a dear friend, so I have come by this passion naturally. It is a way of binding our lives together forever as memories of their gardens and these special people will always be with me.

Many years ago, Peggy came into my life at a time when I really needed someone special. A job I loved came to an end and also many friendships with these people I had worked with would change forever as we all went our separate ways. I placed an advertisement for a pen pal in one of my magazines about the Victorians, who also loved flowers with a passion, and over 25 people answered the ad. To this day I still write to one of them.

Peggy and I were kindred spirits in everything we loved and felt about gardening and nature. It was like having an identical twin sister, as we often felt and would write the very same things in our letters; we even sent the same cards at various times. I didn’t think anyone could feel this same passion that I had for flowers, gardening and nature, but Peggy did. She passed away of cancer in 2004 and often when I am in the gardens and see things, I know I can say her name and tell her what I am feeling and she will be with me. I still cry when I miss her and writing about her is very difficult for me, but I know she is always with me and I can feel her passion for the gardens.

It is good to have passion and love about something and many people have passion for different things other than gardening and so do I when it comes to my Minnesota Vikings and family and friends.

I love to see this passion in other people and hear about what they love to talk about, and to hear the excitement in their voices. Everyone should have something very special to them that they can share with others or just keep in their hearts to enjoy. For me, that is flowers.

“We love the things we love for what they are.” — Robert Frost

Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears weekly. Email her at