Late Bloomers: Triumph Over Adversity

Has spring ever felt more glorious than it has in the northeast this past week? I’m delighted with the arrival of every new shoot, tiny bud, and blooming flower I see. While dabbling in my garden the other day, I recalled that last year, it took a while for some of my flowers to kick in. Between the endless spring rain and cool temperatures we had, many of my annuals simply never thrived and my perennials took longer than normal to return and flower. I was pleasantly taken aback, however, when I took a good look at my small verbena garden. The plants had barely grown for months, bearing a few small flowers every now and then, when suddenly, they bloomed with a vengeance. They poured abundantly over their brick edging, a riot of magenta and deep violet. They were simply stunning.

My verbena got me to thinking about late bloomers - both the plant and human variety – and I was struck by the similarities that both persuasions seem to share. First, the late bloomers I know have endured less than ideal growing conditions. They did not have the benefit of doting care, or a perfect environment, emotional or otherwise, nor a person or persons truly dedicated to their respective development and growth. The result: other people/plants blossomed sooner, sometimes “stealing the show,” basking in the adulation of those enamored by their early color, and who equated their effortless blossoming to a sense of inherent worthiness and inborn success.

The second observation I’ve made is that the late bloomers are the real scene stealers. They are the people and plants who have quietly persisted through unfavorable weather with little or no encouragement to not only bloom, but to do so breathtakingly. It is the late bloomers who can withstand the sudden temperature spikes, torrential storms, and gale force winds, having taken the time to become well-anchored and adapted to life’s shifting climactic circumstances before setting out to flower.

I remember that many of last year’s early garden bloomers quickly faded when the weather suddenly turned or became harsh, while the late bloomers took all of this in stride. The late bloomers continued to bloom through it all, perhaps because their energy was less dependent on external factors and generated, instead, from an inner reserve they had cultivated. Or maybe it was because they served to remind me, and all of us, that the things in life that are truly worthwhile really do take time. As is the nature of so many late bloomers I know, they triumphed over adversity, displaying a lasting beauty that had always been there, just waiting to blossom.

Do you know any late bloomers or are you a late bloomer yourself? Tell us about a “bloom” moment – when things finally came together.

Article by LYDIA GNAU
Illustration courtesy of KATHY HARE
Kathy Hare is a freelance illustrator based in Harlow, Essex in the U K. Kathy always had a passion for drawing, so after raising her children she decided to make a career out of her talent. After five years of study, Kathy graduated from the Cambridge School of Art with a BA (Hons) degree in Illustration. She is a traditional illustrator, working mainly with pastels and color pencils, however she still enjoys experimenting and playing with all types of media. Kathy Hare is represented by the David Lewis Illustration Agency.


  1. What a lovely post. Really thoughtful. Thank you.

  2. Thank you for your comment, Dana! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I find gardening/nature inspirational as well as enjoyable.

  3. Very inspirational for me also. I had a friend who liked to use the saying, "That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."


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