Bloom Where You Are Planted

Picture this:

  • Beside the road,
  • within 2 inches of the pavement,
  • in the gravel shoulder
  • a Hollyhock grows tall and wide.
  • Five tall stalks,
  • stacked full of brilliant red bell-shaped flowers,
  • grow taller each day.
  • Four feet easily now,
  • it will possibly growing to 8 by Summer’s end.
  • It grows with wild abandon
  • in harsh, impossible circumstances,
  • for one reason.

What is the reason the Hollyhock blooms its heart out in spite of the heat? in spite of the drought? in spite of the harsh conditions?

  • to set seeds
  • to leave a legacy
  • to spread its beauty
  • to leave a mark
  • to impact
  • to change
  • to make the world a better place
  • this is its nature
  • because after it blooms, it will die

Last Summer, I noticed the Hollyhock seedling sprout beside the road.  Several times I thought of transplanting it to a better location where it would receive constant nourishment and sufficient water.

Poor little plant.  I’ll admit that several times it was mowed down as I cut the ditch and trimmed alongside the road.

This past Winter, I noticed the Hollyhock remained, and that it had grown in size.  No longer threatened by the mower, it had sunk its roots into whatever dirt was there and hung on with a tenacity that thrilled me.

Still, I thought of transplanting it.  Unsure how best to proceed and unwilling to harm the plant, I waited.

With the arrival of Spring, I knew I had waited too long.  The size of the plant indicated the taproot ran deep. The Hollyhock would live out its life there, by the side of the road.

A quick search of Hollyhock online revealed interesting (and sad) information.  Hollyhocks, though listed as perennials, are more likely to live as biennuals: growing one year and blooming the next, then dying after spending all their energy blooming and setting seeds (as an annual would), instead of blooming for a short time and then putting its energy into growing itself larger (as a perennial does).

Giving itself up for the next generation of Hollyhocks instead of saving itself, I suppose, is a good way to put it.


  • When was the last time you gave all you had for something other than yourself?
  • When was the last time you deeply invested in the next generation?
  • When you die, what legacy will you leave? and where will you leave it?
  • Are you blooming where you were planted? making the most of what you are given?
  • Do you stifle your abilities and gifts, hoping for greener pastures, better circumstances, the right conditions?
  • Will your thoughts and influence be spread far and wide like seeds caught with the wind and broadcast? or will your impact center around YOU and die with you?

Note:  A new flowerbed awaits seeds from the beauty by the road – a reminder to be all I can be, to do all I can do, to bloom where I’m planted, to live beyond myself, to stop grumping about what isn’t and lean hard into what is, to look at the legacy I will leave behind, to make the world a better place now and in the future, and to work hard at being the best I can be no matter my situation or circumstance.

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