An Instance of Wishing I Had Listened to the Angels Better

Over the years many people have asked me whether I am uncomfortable following the Angels’ guidance so precisely- Well, I only WISH it was as precisely as folks imagine- but in answer to this question- No, I am not uncomfortable- Over the last twenty five years the Angels’ guidance on a vast array of topics has been impeccable. My problems come when I get ahead of their guidance or when I don’t listen carefully or when I forget what they said.

Here is a small example of what happens when I don’t listen well. This year the Angels suggested miniature Sunflowers for the terra-cotta pots running along the stone terrace in front of the house. Their guidance is always polite. They respect my free will and only make suggestions. It is up to me to decide what to do and almost always I follow their suggestions. If they say, “No peas.”, I know it is going to be a bad pea year, and there is no sense in me growing peas. I know this because somewhere in the last 25 years I planted peas despite their guidance and got zero peas.

With the Sunflower suggestion, they indicated a few miniature varieties that would work well this summer, and I bought the seeds. So far, so good. But then, before planting time, I drifted into a revery of my own imaginings, ungrounded by the fact that the Angels knew what kind of summer we were going to have. Their choices all over the gardens indicated that we were in for a wet, wet, wet summer, but I didn’t want to see THAT writing on the walls. I wanted a summer more continental- say Italian palazzo continental. I decided Scarlet Geraniums would create just the sort of Italian palazzo in the summer ambience on the stone terrace THAT I WANTED. I decided that I could bring Italy to me with just a few splashes of scarlet, and I went rogue on the Angels.

This turned out to be a very, very, very bad bit of revery resulting in something with NOTHING Italian palazzo about it.

First of all, no other Flower in the garden is the red shade of the Scarlet Geraniums I chose. They clash with EVERYTHING. Maybe they look great in the gardens of Taormina, Sicily but not here. Every time I go out the door I wince at the way they don’t match with the Roses, Vervain, Poppies, Thyme and EVERY OTHER Flowers that is cheek by jowl to their pots. Each time I see these pots I feel badly about my choice AND badly that I am not loving the Scarlet Geraniums as they deserve to be loved. They even clash with red Bee Balm below in the perennial beds which I was sure they would look great with.

By the way, this is an amazing Bee Balm summer- I have never seen it look better. Whose idea was it to have one perennial bed of classic red Bee Balm with another one of a deep rich maroon? Well, it was not mine, and I thank the Angels for giving us such a treat this and every year in the gardens because the Bee Balm always looks great- only this year it looks SUPER great.


The second problem with the Geraniums is that the variety I chose needs to be deadheaded every thirteen minutes- literally. No sooner does a stalk of blossom open than the center blossoms fade and turn brownish red. Someone with a lot of experience with Geraniums suggested I cut them back completely and let them all begin again. They now look worse than ever. Now there are almost no blossoms, and the ones that survived the massacre still need deadheading.


A third issue is the weather. The Geraniums don’t seem to like the nightly deluge of rain. Their leaves are yellowing and they look sicker and sicker.

One might ask…….How are the Sunflowers doing in other parts of the garden? Glorious! They are surfing the endless rains with aplomb. Healthy, robust, zippy, everything my choice of Geraniums are not.

So really, I garner no problems from taking the Angels’ advice. My problems are of my own making.

And now, please excuse me. It’s been thirteen minutes. I need to go out and deadhead my scarlet beauties.