Writers Write


A number of hits on my blog have come from google searches for moonflowers. It’s strange because this obviously isn’t a gardening blog. Moonflowers bloom only at night. They are pollinated by moths, who are attracted to the white bloom.  They must confuse the flower for a porch light.


I want to grow them in flower boxes on the patio. I grew them last year on an arbor in the yard. We walked out to see them at night with a flashlight. It was fun, but we didn’t do it often enough. 


I bought moonflower seeds the first week of March.  The girls and I made starter pots out of newspaper pages. This is done by folding a sheet of newsprint lengthwise, rolling it around a can of veggies, folding the bottom edge under, and then, removing the can. We filled the homemade pot with dirt, and planted two seeds in each.  Since planting the seeds, only four have sprouted.  Not great odds.


So what?  

Today, I gave up on the empty pots.  I decided to be scientific (or childish, whatever suits your world view), and see what’s up with the bad seeds.  I tore the pots apart and dumped the dirt in the dog’s water bowl, digging around in the muck until I found the seeds.  Most of them looked just like they did when we planted them–hard, solid, and light brown.  A few were mushy and rotten without growth.  Only one had a stem without leaves. I shoved that one back into a pot with the others. I’m not expecting much, but on the outside chance it could live, I gave it a shot.  

What’s the point?  

I decided to move on and plant some more because I really want to see the flowers in August.  When everything else in the yard is dead from the summer heat, those giant blooms, big and white as a paper plate, are astonishing.  

I plant a lot of seeds to get a single bloom.  Moonflowers are prolific seed producers. They have to be because most of the offspring turn out to be hard little rocks that don’t amount to anything.  

It’s my nature to believe that every single thing I plant will grow into something substantial. My head is a Miracle Grow commercial, and I’ve had good luck with green beans, zinnias, and nasturtiums, but the prized moonflower is rare.  

It’s the same with writing.  I think everything I do is going to be terrific. It’s going to have a beginning, middle, and end. The words will flow effortlessly from my fingers.  When they don’t, I have to keep planting the new seeds instead of waiting for the dead rocks to germinate.  

When my mom was teaching, she incubated chicks in her 5th grade classroom.  Most of the eggs hatched.  Every year, at least one didn’t.  In the words of the goose in Charlotte’s Web, “It’s a dud.”  The goose gives the bad egg to Templeton, the rat.


I have to write a lot of crap to get one decent page and an awful lot of of crap to get a number of decent pages that can be strung together into a manuscript that someone might buy and print into a book.  It’s work that takes time away from all the other flowers in my life. 


Why bother?  


I want to see those moonflowers in August.  



The photo was taken last October by my big brother.  Yes, we went out with flashlights.  



2 thoughts on “Moonflowers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s