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Spring Comes Softly

By Gail Kittleson

And then the day came when the risk to remain tight, in a bud, became more painful than the risk it took to blossom. — Elizabeth Appell, writer

Outside our house, this leafing bud reminds me our row of lilacs harbors promise.



Inside, my Christmas cactus is up to its second-time-around Easter blooming.

christmas cactus

I’ve never been a big fan of kalanchoes, but this particular plant blooms twice a year, and its tiny, cheery blossoms are winning my heart. I move both cactus and kalanchoe outdoors in summer.


Every day now, even if the wind’s blowing like crazy and the thermometer says otherwise, we know Spring is here . . . in spirit, at least. Something like knowing your age, but not acting like it, or feeling young in spite of your birth date.

The row of lilacs I planted about twelve years ago from my mother-in-law’s starts,  originated before the turn of the century, with her grandmother. Such history, even in simple plants. Lilacs seem simple to me, embellishing Spring with their gifts, then taking a back seat the rest of the season.

Their blooms may not last as long as day lilies or petunias, spanning nearly the whole summer. But who could forget lilacs’ intoxicating, heady aroma? In a nearby alley, I slow my steps to sniff the rich dark purple flowers. Positively lush!

Obviously, the photo for this scene lives only in my head. Guess it’s clear—I’m all undone by Spring!


About the Author:

gailGardener/writer Gail Kittleson has been gardening just about everywhere she and her husband have lived, including Senegal, West Africa. Her favorite thing about gardening is the survival of plants over harsh Iowa winters, the anticipation of new growth, and eating fresh salads. When she’s not gardening she’s writing memoir and women’s historical fiction novels and teaching a creative writing class. Gail writes from northern Iowa, where she and her husband enjoy gardening and grandchildren. In winter, Arizona’s Ponderosa pine forests provide relief from Midwest weather and a whole raft of new people and stories.

In This Together coverGail’s memoir, Catching Up With Daylight, paved the way for fiction writing, and her debut women’s fiction novel, In This Together (Wild Rose Press/Vintage Line) was released on November 18, 2015.You can learn more about her at http://www.gailkittleson.com.

To read Gail’s other garden posts click here.