The weather’s right for snowballs

Published 10:02 am Monday, May 5, 2014

“Come and see my snowball bush,” I said to any visitor to my home in the past month. The plant outdid itself this year, prompting me to photograph it from all angles and demanding attention from visitors. I had been anxious about it ever since ole man winter blanketed trees, roofs and yards with ice and a thin layer of snow. I kept watch from my kitchen window, hoping for some greenery. Then one day it happened. I was thrilled. The plant with the large white clusters was a beauty to behold.

I first noticed snowballs one spring years ago when my husband was minister at Macedonia United Methodist Church in Rose Hill. One day we visited a dear lady in that community who had a huge snowball tree next to her front door. Those gorgeous clusters towering to her rooftop captivated me. Upon our return to Andalusia from Baldwin County in 1994, we began making monthly visits to the Fort Rucker Commissary. Along the way is a residence with a gorgeous snowball bush in the front yard. “I want one of those,” I kept saying to my husband who had the green thumb in our family. He always nodded, but we kept forgetting about it until we passed that yard again the next spring. Then one day while browsing in a local nursery, we found one, the last in stock that season. My husband planted and tended to it. I never know what to expect from year to year. One year it bloomed in January and again that spring. Another year it did not bloom at all. This spring, three years after my husband’s passing, its spectacular performance made my heart sing with joy and thanksgiving. He would have been happy it gave me such pleasure.

My mother transplanted a white wisteria bush from her yard in Florida to my front yard here in south Alabama. During the time she lived with us, she often mentioned that she was afraid it would take on the color of the purple wisteria that once climbed the fence in our back yard. This spring I was happy to see the first green shoots on it, proof that it survived another winter. Just like the snowballs, it broke forth in all its glory, producing its white blooms with a delicate aroma.

The huge rosemary bush in my back yard is proof that persistence pays off. Once it took hold, it thrived. It gets bigger every year. One Christmas we bought a rosemary plant in a pot. When my husband transplanted it, it died. A replacement died. The same thing kept happening. We had almost given up on rosemary when we bought one in a tiny pot displayed with other herbs. To our surprise, it did not miss a beat when my husband transplanted it to the back yard.

Although I felt anxiety about the snowball and wisteria following winter hazards, I had no qualms at all about that hardy rosemary.The weather’s right for snowballs