Once upon a time, a young(-ish) mother wished for a Rose of Sharon bush, and when her birthday came around, her delightful children and loving husband presented her with a beautiful Hibiscus syriacus ‘Lavender Chiffon.’  The mother duly planted her new shrub in the corner of the front garden, where it grew large and healthy.Rose of SharonSadly, it grew TOO large for its space in that corner, and had to be moved.  It was a BIG undertaking for the mother who wasn’t quite as young as she had been at the beginning of our tale.010Sharon’s new home was not far from her old, at the corner of the front porch.  She received much tender, loving care as she settled into her new digs–plenty of water, homemade compost, and a soft blanket of autumn leaves once the chill and the winds of winter came.
015The mother worried and fussed as the following spring wore on with no sign of life in Sharon.  Had she killed her beautiful bush?  At last, as summer knocked on the door, she made a happy discovery!  Sharon lived!Rose of Sharon--signs of life!As summer progressed, Sharon grew some more leaves, and in September, a month after all of the others in the neighborhood, she bloomed.  She was not what she once had been, but the mother understood that she had withstood a terrible shock and required some time to recover.077The mother, thinking it would be lovely if Sharon had some bright flowers to keep her company in the spring, planted several bulbs in the ring of soil around her, and then put everything to bed for the winter, again, under a soft blanket of leaves.

When spring came, the buds produced many cheerful flowers–orange crocuses, yellow daffodils, purple allium.  Yet, Sharon slept, but a bare twig even as the others on her street boasted new green leaves.Rose of Sharon corner--'King Alfred' daffodilsIn early summer, Sharon showed a few leaves, and the mother looked forward to new growth.  “Surely,” she said to her husband, “surely it will grow stronger and healthier than last year.”Imperfect Rose of SharonAlas, the mother was wrong.  New leaves never did appear on the upper twigs of Sharon this year, and she sadly clipped off the dead wood.  Disheartened, she woefully neglected Sharon except to occasionally walk by her and shed a tear.

Now the autumn of the year approaches, and Sharon stands prepared to open her very few buds.  The mother, now aged with worry for her beloved shrub, is in a quandary for how to nurse Sharon back to her former glory.  Expressions of torment and guilt fill her thoughts: “Should I not have planted bulbs around her?”  “Did I disturb her roots when I transplanted that Heuchera near her this spring?”  “Did I retard her growth by allowing the weeds to thrive around her?”018

Thus, the mother comes humbly before her devoted readers to ask for their thoughts about how she may save her Rose of Sharon!020

The End008