Lisa made her first public gardening debut at nine years old starring as Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden. So yes, she sings and dances but somehow the musical worked extra magic and she also developed a green thumb and lovely British accent.  Add to that her enviable baking skills and habitual reading of classic literature, and you have a handy high brow tea party kit on wheels (if she’s wearing roller skates), complete with your choice of fresh flowers, regional accent, book talk, and crumpets. She’ll even stick out her little finger.

My dad used to say that you can always tell when spring is near, because the forsythias are the first thing to bloom. As soon as I see them start (generally in the second or third week of March), I begin to get excited, because it means that springtime-and-butterflies-and-flowers-and-rain-and-good-smelling-things are coming.

I’ve learned a lot of life lessons from these guys.

Forsythia bushes have some of the yellowest yellow flowers I have ever seen. Against the backdrop of a whole lotta gray, they make a difference like you wouldn’t believe.

But forsythias are really brave little guys too. I also know every year, when I see them start to bloom, that it will snow a few more times before they’re done. They come out anyway, every single time. And they beam, brightly brightly through the wet, freezing snow, in spite of all the gray, late frosts, and the like.

And when they’re finishing up blooming, which is what they’re beginning to do now, their goldenness melts into green—not anything too ostentatious. Just a soft, pale, kindly sort of green. The forsythias still leave just enough gold in their green remind themselves of what they are and what they will be again the following early spring. But for now, their day is over. Their job was to lead out, to remind the world of the glory it can become, just when it was beginning to think it was too interminably gray to do it. They last just long enough to give all of the other flowers the courage to begin blossoming, and then they pass the baton and stay in the background, a foundation of quiet strength for the other flowers. And I like to think that they remind the other flowers to follow their example and be bold in their bloom.

But after their time, they’re happy to retire to simply being green, a backdrop for the other flowers to let them shine.

I’d like to be a forsythia.