Sarah Lysne: The joy of flowers and plants

Published 6:30 am Saturday, March 6, 2021

When I was a little girl, I remember being fascinated by the bleeding heart plant in our backyard. I couldn’t believe that it had such perfect heart shaped flowers. It was my first love of flowers. I have continued to enjoy flowers all of my life. If I’m not taking pictures of flowers, I’m painting flowers. I’ve even made cards with flowers on them.

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Every fall, when the potted flowers start to wither, I insist on bringing them in the house. I can’t stand to see them die, when they still have buds on them. One year I had a violet impatiens that stayed in full bloom until February. It was a nice reminder of spring on a cold winter day.

When it was apparent that my ALS was not going to allow me to walk my children’s dogs anymore, I felt frustrated. I was complaining to a friend about not having the ability to take care of the dogs anymore, she suggested that I get a goldfish, hamster or take care of plants. I wasn’t a big fan of the goldfish or the hamster idea, but I asked my mother-in-law if she would help me learn to take better care of my plants. All of the sudden, the plants are flourishing. My Christmas cactus is in full bloom now, and it is beautiful.

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When I was diagnosed with ALS, a good friend brought me a sunflower in a pretty green ceramic pot. I didn’t know it at the time, but she explained to me that the sunflower is a sign of hope for ALS, just like the daffodil is a sign of hope for cancer.

After I fell in October, my uncle and his family sent me a flower arrangement with a sunflower in the center. I have received cards with sunflowers, and I have started to see sunflowers in clothing and in artwork. It is amazing how this flower of hope is showing up in many places in my life.

This summer, I have decided to plant sunflowers. I already have two bleeding heart plants in my backyard. I can’t think of anything more inspiring than looking out into my garden and seeing the sunflowers and the hearts together with their signs of hope and love.

I know that someday we will downsize and move to another house. Maybe children will live in this house again and maybe they will think the heart plants are as magical as I did when I was their age.