A Handful of Bulbs

We have tried for years to find a bright plant that likes the white brick wall under our kitchen window on the patio. The place gets a nice dose of morning sunshine but none in the afternoon. We inherited an old black wash pot from Grandma Graham and we planted at different times geraniums, begonias, bougainvillea, impatiens and pansies. None of them thrived, most died. Ferns would be pretty, I thought. But I really wanted something colorful against that white brick wall. We decided to try one more thing: caladiums.

Now there was a reason we hadn’t tried caladiums for many years. At one time we enjoyed a healthy row of beautiful caladiums. The Georgia thumpers enjoyed them too–for dinner! You know Georgia thumpers? They are large meaty grasshopper things about three inches long with very muscular legs and beady eyes. They like lilies, lots of flowers, and especially caladiums, we learned to our sorrow. At first the colorful red and green plants were just fine. Then one day the thumpers discovered them and proceeded to strip them like a plague of locusts. Already, I didn’t like those thumpers and that finished any com-passion I might feel for the red and yellow monsters. We didn’t want to grow their dinner for them. So we dug up the caladium bulbs and planted good, steady green border grass.

But now we were in another time, another place. We hadn’t seen Georgia thumpers in years. So off we went to Lowe’s hunting caladiums. All they had were little boxes of bulbs, no plants already started. I was skeptical because I thought it was too late in the season to be planting bulbs. But we bought them and Charles planted the five nubby bulbs in a pot inside the wash pot. In case they didn’t make it we could easily move them.

We waited and waited for what seemed a very long time. Finally one, then two tiny points broke through the soil. Every day I checked to see if more had come up. There were only five bulbs but as time went on dozens of caladium leaves developed. I hadn’t realized that each bulb had several knots, each of which would sprout.

Now we are rewarded with a lush beautiful pot full of bright huge leaves. We are amazed at the number of plants and also by their size. It was only a handful of bulbs but now they’re making a bountiful display against the white brick wall. Not only amazed by the number of leaves, I’m fascinated with the intricacies of each unique leaf. Each one has its own pattern reminding me of a road map, or a large fancy valentine, or even a perfect cover for a toad to hide from the rain.

I keep thinking–God can take a boy’s small lunch and feed 5,000 plus people. He can spangle the sky with stars with a word. He can fill the ocean with teeming schools of fish, large and small. And God can take the smallest efforts we put forth, if done in His name, to change lives and turn problems into opportunities and even a thing of beauty.

We hope our caladiums continue to thrive and that we have no visits from Georgia thumpers. These great, wonderful leaves all from one handful of bulbs? Only God could do it!

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