Trillium

Ephemeral

“Uh WHAT roll?”

“Ephemeral (\i-ˈfem-rəl): adjective; lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory” (Dictionary.com).

The very nature of flowers is that they are transitory, as are we (1 Peter 1:24).

In the horticultural sense, the word “ephemeral” denotes a plant that goes beyond fading flowers; the whole upper part of the plant fades and disappears during the usual growing season.

It doesn’t mean it is gone, it is merely resting, or dormant. Many plants die back in the winter, which leaves the forgetful gardener wondering where to dig to put spring plants in.

Many of us circumvent this problem by waiting a long time to do our spring planting.

When plants die back in the summer, however, it makes it harder to work in the bed where the roots lay dormant, lest they be injured by a wayward stroke of a weeding tool. I had this problem earlier this year with my Virginia Bluebells, which appear in the springtime but are nowhere to be found on top of the soil after the month of May.

Twisted Trillium may be my favorite of these ephemerals. My husband brought it home for me a few years back, rescued from a building site. I recently had to move it from one side of the garden to the other, as one of our peach trees was cut down. Trillium likes shade, and I wanted to ensure the survival of this prized plant.

At the time of the move, the leaves had already started yellowing. I carefully placed it in a prepared spot in the shade of another tree. This time, I marked the place with a plant marker. All summer long, I watered the bare ground where I knew the trillium was planted, although there was no trace other than the marker.

If another gardener were to take over my work, would she trample on my precious trillium? I will be watching in the spring for this beautiful plant with its speckled leaves and dainty twisted purple flower.

In the same way, God foreknew the coming of Christ, when mankind did not. Like my ephemeral plants, Christ had his purpose laid out and ready to execute, even when no one could easily see it.

“If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” 1 Peter 1:17-21, NASB).

Every spring, I joyfully find the trilliums and the bluebells. The trillium is not an exuberant, flashy plant, but blends in with the dappled shade in which it thrives. If I hadn’t foreknown that it was there, I might have missed its appearance.

While walking near the hostas and daylilies on the east side of the garden, people must watch their steps to give the transplanted trillium its due respect, because it is precious. This passage tells us to watch our steps! What could be more rare and precious than the blood of the spotless Lamb?

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Christine (Tina) Berglund

Christine lives in middle Tennessee with her husband Gary, a.k.a. "The Yard Boy." They have served churches in eight states where Gary has preached full-time most of their married lives. The children have flown the nest, but they "baby" their plants now, and even get to visit grandchildren once in a while.

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