Every spring I plant colorful annuals in pots and set them on my patio. I usually choose marigolds, pansies, begonias, petunias, and impatiens, with some coleus, ivy, and sweet potato vines put in for foliage.
One spring, responding probably to laziness, I planted only geraniums. Red geraniums in clay pots, ceramic pots, plastic pots, and hanging baskets. A porch full of geraniums.
My geranium summer taught me that these plants like sunny areas and attract bees and butterflies. I have read that both their flowers and their roots are used in the preparation of medicines, and their leaves can be used in making tea. I availed myself of none of those secondary uses. My geraniums simply sat and bloomed.
There is no pretense with a geranium. It has a dusty, earthy aroma, not a strong, perfume-like fragrance. It doesn’t draw attention to itself, like showy pansies and petunias. The geranium is a gentle smile, not an open-mouthed laugh. It is a modest ginger snap, not a flamboyant soufflé.
The most amazing discovery I made the summer I grew geraniums was that these plants made no mess. I wasn’t constantly sweeping away dropped petals as I was when I grew begonias. Nor did I need to pinch off sagging, spent blossoms, as I had done with petunias. My geraniums needed no greenery added to their container, for they provided plenty of their own.
In contrast to the geranium, the gardenia is surely the molten chocolate soufflé of all flowers. Its delicate, creamy blossom emits a rich, enticing scent that delights the very soul of the one who inhales it. It is the very definition of fragility and elegance.
On Mother’s Day, my husband often pins a fragrant gardenia to the bodice of my Sunday dress. Its beauty and aroma attract many admirers.
Every year before ordering my Mother’s Day gardenia, my husband asks me, “What is the name of that white flower you love?” I remind him that it is the gardenia. He says, “I always remember that it starts with the letter G, but the only G-letter flower I can ever think of is a geranium. One of these days, that’s probably what I’ll order for your corsage.”
It makes me smile to think of walking into church with a leafy, many blossomed geranium fastened to the front of my dress.
The geranium is not the flower of choice for corsages, wedding bouquets, or banquet centerpieces. Its presence is subdued, not flashy.
If I were a flower, I think I would choose to be a geranium: humble, reliable, requiring little upkeep, content to play second fiddle to other flowers, and making no mess. Being described in those terms would be an honor for me.
Every flower in God’s worldwide garden came about by divine plan. So did every person. Not all of us are showpieces. Most of us are not noticed for the tantalizing aura that surrounds us. But not one of us came about by accident.
Like the geranium, each of us was intentionally made by our Creator. Honor Him by celebrating the magnificient privilege of being uniquely you.