On our bricked patio, there is a two-foot by two-foot square that has no bricks. It contains soil, mulch, Sweet Woodruff, 'Pipit' daffodils, and Lady ferns. If you are down on your knees inspecting those lovelies and look up, you'll see a nicely-shaped dogwood tree (Cornus florida). It isn't tall (five feet) and in the 15 years or so that it has been there, only once would you have been able to identify it by anything other than its foliage.
That's right. It has only bloomed once. And even then, it was a half-hearted effort. Three blossoms. THREE. But they were glorious blossoms and there was much rejoicing and the fatted calf was prepared ... wait ... wrong story. But those three blossoms have been talked about for years afterward, every time someone commented on the cute little tree.
Every year, when it would be barren of blooms, we'd say, "Maybe next year." But we learned not to hold our breath, because we'd be disappointed once again, for while its foliage was green and lush and lovely, it just wouldn't bloom.
But this year is going to be different. It took me about three minutes to count the flower buds on the little dogwood yesterday, not three seconds. There are ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-NINE flower buds! I'm not kidding. And this relentless winter that's been revisiting us lately had better not rob us of this impending major floral event, or I will wring its frigid neck.
Maybe it has been saving up its blooms for a time when it knew they would be appreciated. If you recall, it's only been two short years since I took up gardening for real. And last year, it probably held back, to see if I was serious about my newest obsession.
Or maybe it was all those other things that I laid at its feet. The Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum), Lady ferns (Athyrium filix-femina) and daffodils (Narcissus 'Pipit') have all performed to perfection since I planted them two autumns ago. The Cute Little Dogwood couldn't let a few bulbs and perennials show it up, could it?
It could be that this is the definitive example of a late bloomer.