The tiny Speedwell plant is a botanical miracle. Courtesy photo/Rachel Lovejoy

During the last few weeks, I’ve been hard at work planting new things, moving others around, weeding, and just basking in the sensation of life springing from the earth. This body of mine isn’t young anymore, so I have to pace myself a lot more now. Moving a plant from one spot to another involves digging the new hole, lifting the plant from its former spot, and setting it into its new spot. This sometimes involves at least one break to allow my back to return to its former position and to stop hurting before I can finish the job. But as physically challenging as it has become, I’m not ready to give up yet, not as long as there are still bare spots in the garden, plants that might do better elsewhere, and the promise of all that glorious color come summer.

A few days ago, I was out there pondering what changes I wanted to make when I spied something very blue but very tiny at the edge of the grass near the violets. Turns out it was a plant called Speedwell (also known as Veronica). The flowers are about one quarter of an inch across, if that, and they’re composed of four tiny fan-shaped petals, one of which is a much paler blue, almost white, and that is slightly more raised than the other three. Of the information on Speedwell that I’ve come across so far, this one might be called Bird’s Eye, and in some instances, it can be invasive. But given all the other invasive plants that I’ve co-oped with here with, this little gem doesn’t really stand much of a chance against the blue violets, cow parsley, and mint that have pretty much already taken over, not to mention the ubiquitous dandelions.

What botanical miracles these tiny flowers are! There is not much to them, and from even my short height, they appear at first as nothing more than a pale blue dust against the greenery. But Speedwell blossoms, along with all the other members of the Wee Flower family, are just as intricately designed and bear all the necessary reproductive parts to create more of their own kind. Just because something is that small doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful. And this humble little flower more than proves that point with its rich blue striped petals in their dainty arrangements around pale centers.

Neat orderly gardening has never been my thing. I’ve always much preferred the eclectic “messy” look such as one might find in a meadow or a large field where Nature has thrown lots of different things together and they’ve learned to either get along or get out. Besides, I just don’t have the heart to dig up a “weed” that has such sweet little flowers as Speedwell does! Orderly manicured flower beds are also more expensive to maintain, along with being much more labor-intensive. Space is also at a premium here, as has working with what previous tenants have left behind and that might not fit my own aesthetic.

Not that I have ever really had much of a plan anyway, for these flower beds are now the sum and total of what was growing here when I arrived, what I’ve been able to afford to add, and what others have so graciously given me to insert into this ever changing terrestrial tapestry. What I lack in actual ground area I make up for with plants in pots that I arrange outside my door and that I later transfer in mid-summer to any bare spots that may remain once said plants have become pot-bound.

The passing of time has brought with it much downsizing, but it has also taught me an important lesson. I don’t need a lot of space to grow flowers in, for they seem to be imbued with an almost magical ability to transcend even the tiniest niche with their humble presence and their vibrant colors.

Having just a little soil to work in has also trained me to watch my step and to always be on the lookout for that miniscule gift I might have missed in a much larger area. Hence the Speedwell, which will continue to live out its tiny but gorgeous life at the edge of “my” garden, as long as I have anything to say about it.

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