It is Yom Kippur, and I am thinking of my great gardening friends, Davee and Milton Kuniansky, and how they helped me out on my Christian holy day.
Our Methodist church has a tradition. On Easter morning, we decorate the cross that stands on the front lawn from the beginning of Lent (Ash Wednesday) to Easter. The congregation brings flowers from their yards, and we put them on the cross. When it's finished, people come with their children and take pictures in front of the incredible floral display.
But there was trouble this year. Easter was extremely late, coming on April 24, the latest I can ever remember. All the flowers we count on - azaleas, dogwoods, viburnums, banksia roses, cherry trees, kerria and the like, had already bloomed out. Tulips, daffodils and hyacinths were also past.
Once before, in 2008, Easter came extremely early, and we had a deep freeze the day before. All the blooms succumbed to the cold. Fortunately, the weatherman had predicted what was about to happen, so I called the Kunianskys. Not a problem, they said. I raided their garden, taking practically all of their showy, bright pink azaleas and a number of other flowers, including some of their thousands of hellebores. That frigid Easter morning, the cross was saved.
This year, I kept driving around in despair. Everything had bloomed out. I called up the Kunianskys, and they said come on over. Davee assured me that they had a bumper crop of rhododendron blooms, and I was welcome to pick what I needed.
So, on the Saturday before Easter Sunday, I took a bunch of buckets and drove over to the their house. As I rounded the corner, I knew everything was going to be all right. I don't think I've ever seen so many blooms on their many rhododendrons. There were masses of lavender flowers all along the street. And when I pulled in the driveway, I was met with a mountain of huge rose-colored flowers. I literally filled up my whole car with the hot pink blooms of 'Anna Rose Whitney' (above, with Davee) and the lavender pink flowers of 'Roseum Elegans'.
When I drove up on Easter morning, the lovely couple who is in charge of the cross, was thrilled when they looked in my car. The Kunianskys had come to the rescue once again.
Next year, I can give them a reprieve. Easter falls on April 8th in 2012. That's a peak time for azaleas and dogwoods, so we'll have plenty of flowers. Still, I'll probably visit their garden as I usually do, and maybe that will be our own little tradition. They'll give me some of their flowers once again to put on the cross. It's a nice feeling for such warm-hearted gardeners to cross religious lines and share their flowers so generously.
Note: I write this on my MacBook Pro. I think back to when my children were little, and we upgraded to an Apple IIGS, from a previous model. They're still Apple, and so am I. With great appreciation to Steve Jobs.