Gardeners live in a world surrounded by beauty. Individual gardeners may vary slightly in the definition of what defines beauty. They all, however, recognize nature’s beautiful bloomers, who capture our hearts and souls.

There are those who find pleasure in the unusual and rare. There are others who are entranced by a bed of pansies.

Hayes Jackson seeks magnificent tropicals; Art Moore cares for a dazzling display of orchids; Linda McDaniel creates magical container gardens incorporating charming flowers and small plants.

Regardless of our particular favorite, we can all agree that all are delightful. There are very few gardeners (or non-gardeners) who can look at a camellia blossom and not be touched by the glory of the state flower of Alabama.

When you tend a garden, you have a special gift to unwrap each day. It is almost impossible not to find the gardener on a freezing cold day or a blistering summer afternoon making the rounds. Has a new bud opened up? Does something need water?

There is a peace in a garden filled with enchanting plants, whether they are covered in bright blooms or a kaleidoscope of colorful leaves. An elegant elephant ear with leaves two feet long can provide as much pleasure as a rose.

There is a new trend called mindfulness, in which a person is coached to pay attention only to the chore at hand, to encourage a sense of calm. I frequently read an article about being mindful while carrying out our everyday activities, whether brushing our teeth or washing the dishes.

Being mindful in the garden seems to be a natural; our minds can concentrate on the color of a blossom or a leaf, a fragrance, a misplaced flower, or a plant that needs a little pruning.

For me, even the most dreadful day, when the monsters are out to ruin my mood, can be rescued by a walk through the garden.

I love a sunny winter day when I can clean up a bed of pansies, removing the spent flowers. With each plant I touch, I focus on the job at hand; my spirit is renewed.

Be mindful of the beauty as you caress each plant, and you can be brought to a level of peace you thought could not exist.

Lately, I have been so focused on the plants that did not survive last summer’s drought and the recent cold snap, I have almost overlooked the ones who did survive. These tough beauties showed me they came from strong stock and, regardless of harsh conditions, are bent to remain beautiful.

I need to learn a lesson from these survivors. Life continues even in the face of hardship.

When I think of beautiful bloomers, it is impossible for me to have just one favorite. Whether it is an amazing orchid, a charming daffodil or a fragrant, old-fashioned tea rose, I love them all.

To quote Hayes Jackson, "That is one of my favorites." On a particular day when a plant is at its peak, it might very well be my momentary favorite, only to have a different one the next day.

Consider adding one of these beautiful bloomers to your landscape; enjoy the delight it can provide.

Sherry Blanton is a member of the Calhoun County Master Gardeners Association. Contact her at