"Grow where you’re planted.” “Bloom where you’re planted.” Both are common quotes you’ve likely heard before. In general, I agree with making the best of your circumstances. However, after six years of living in the Sonoran Desert, I’ve met many fair weathered plants that would disagree with these inspirational quotes.
A few weeks ago I was wandering the yard looking at some of the non-desert plants that had just about given all they could in the never ending 110 (give or take a degree or two) degree daily heat of summer. Truly the desert in summer isn’t for the faint of heart, or for water loving/cool weather plants. (Cool in Phoenix, AZ terms is pretty much anything below 100 degrees.)
I recalled the first year I lived here and was excited for the traditional rites of summer, such as planting flowers and vegetables. It made sense that the growing seasons would be different, and it was nice to be planting so early in the year, when the rest of the world was still waiting for the last of the snow to melt away. Beautiful colors brilliantly stood out on some of my favorite flowers, and the vegetables I’d planted in my patio garden where growing nicely. And then Mother Nature began turning up the heat. Before I realized it green became brown, and vibrant flowers became crispy and dry. The flourishing vegetables gave it their best, but eventually succumbed to the heat, almost withering in front of my eyes. The plants and I gave it our best shot, yet it just wasn’t enough.
Since then my gardening has changed and now flourishes by sticking to native plants and working with the natural flow and timing of the seasons in the desert. There are still a few non-native bushes in the yard that were here long before I was, and I work hard to help them survive the oven-like temperatures of summer. However, I can’t help but feel a little sad as I see them struggle through the hottest months. They will never truly thrive in this environment and exert a lot of energy to produce even the tiniest bud of green in the summer.
How often does a similar scenario play out in life? Have you found yourself planted in a situation or environment where no matter what you do you are unhappy and struggle to exist? Where you try so hard to make it work the stress, worry or unhappiness cause you to wither inside?
Grow where you’re planted? Well, yes maybe. By all means give it your best shot! If you flourish where you’re planted, allow yourself to bloom and prosper to your highest potential. If you find you’ve given your best and still struggle to feel vibrant, happy, and fulfilled perhaps it’s time to make a change and find a new spot to put roots down and bloom. Unlike a delicate summer flower that’s transplanted into the heat of a Sonoran summer, you have the ability to make a different choice.