Promises, Promises

You just can’t trust a pyracantha. I first discovered this the year our daughter got married. Like her father, she plans things way ahead of time. By the time my pyracantha bloomed in the spring of 1991, I knew she was planning a Christmas wedding. To be honest, I had known since 1988 that she was planning the wedding for December 21, 1991 – three years to the day from receiving her engagement ring. Didn’t I tell you she planned way ahead?

This bush carried brilliant red berries, just right for decorating the church. A spring infestation of worms reminiscent of the plagues in Egypt descended and ate all the blossoms. As you might have guessed, 1991 was the one and only year that happened. I thought surely healthy plants would try again – but no. The church was beautiful with poinsettias and candles. Perhaps I was the only one who missed my vision of red pyracantha berries trailing in between.

Twelve years ago when we moved to Hattiesburg, I brought a small bush with me to transplant. I wanted the red berries instead of the more commonplace orange ones. [You may remember from a previous blog that orange is not my favorite color.] The plant rooted quickly in a place with the same light and atmosphere as the home from which it came. The first year or two in the spring, it bore its white flowers, which dropped off almost immediately with no berries at all behind them. “Okay,” I thought, “Give the bush a little time.” I assumed that in a few years, it would bear fruit.

For the next couple of years, green berries made a short appearance before dropping off. Patient as I am, I let that go as well. However, there comes a time to put up or shut up. The berries for the rest of that time have produced, grown big, and then dropped off just before time to turn red. I have asked every garden expert I have come across what in the world this plant is thinking. Every expert has given me the same answer. “I don’t know.” Really, if Felder Rushing doesn’t know, who would?

My conclusion is that pyracantha bushes make lots of promises they have no intention of keeping. As you can see from the picture, it promised well this spring. Today on June 21, it has lots of green berries. To tell the truth, I’m still hoping this is the year it makes good on its promise.