Judge Not the Flower By its Bud

This excerpt is from Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden, by Kathryn Hall.

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Shortly after moving to my new home in North Carolina I discovered a bleeding heart plant growing in between the bushes in front of the house. I recognized it as a shade-loving plant and happily transplanted it to a shady corner behind the house. As the little flowers emerged I was struck with disappointment and nostalgia, as these were not the same flowers I had come to love in California, the ones I knew well, the ones I had bought in nurseries at home. Two weeks later my heart filled with joy as I stumbled upon a nursery tucked below the road I had taken on errands, and outside in the various lovely displays I found another bleeding heart, with the very flowers that I associated with my home state. Delighted, I purchased it immediately, going straight home to plant it in a big clay pot I’d found on sale the week before.

Imagine my surprise when the following week I walked through the shade garden and found the little flowers I had snubbed the week before were identical to the ones I had just bought. Apparently I had never seen a bleeding heart in bud before, always opting to buy fully mature versions in nurseries, never having grown them from seed.

I laughed at myself, realizing I had judged the flower by its bud, indeed, had not even recognized it as a bud! I began to wonder how many times I might have judged some creative effort, either my own or someone else’s, in the same manner. How many times have we encountered a fledgling effort and rejected it as not good enough, as a waste of time or as stupid? When had we been willing to bring forth the virtues of patience and close observation, and allowed the time to pass for full maturation, we might have found that what we first thought unacceptable grew to the loveliest of flowers that sustained us for many years.


Popular gardening blogger Kathryn Hall is the author of the book Plant Whatever Brings You Joy in which she shares 52 life lessons inspired by working in her gardens over the years, each illustrated by a story designed to spark the imagination of the reader. Hall is a passionate gardener, a devoted mother, and keen Nature observer. Her articles have appeared in Science of Mind, Ode Magazine, Bird Watcher’s Digest, and Western North Carolina Woman.

Plant Whatever Brings You Joy

Photo By: Liz West, via Wikimedia Commons