I’m a wildflowers kind of girl.
Yes, hothouse roses are lovely, and my personal favorites – carnations- are always well-received by me. Lilies are classic, orchids are delicate and divine, and mums, poppies and peonies are gorgeous blossoms all.
But I’m a wildflower at heart.
Why? Well, because the wildflower is, by its very nature….. a low-maintenance surprise, and a source of unbidden beauty and joy.
In my flower beds, I have tulips, yes, but they are almost more feral than flower. I found the bulbs buried in a corner of my driveway, forgotten (or left for compost) by the previous owner, when we moved in 11 years ago. I dug up what I could, and tossed them into another flower bed.
And promptly forgot about them for a couple of years. That is, until they started actually sprouting and blooming, weeks after everyone else’s in the neighborhood, and nowhere near as prolific or large. They sprang out of the dirt of the flowerbed almost in defiance of the rules of the community, coming up whenever they dang well pleased, and in colors that seem to change from one year to the next. My children would snap them off at random, near the end of the school year, to be delivered (usually bent, sometimes mangled) to their favorite teacher of the year – who would smile, thank my child politely, and promptly plop the poor, fractured flora into a dixie cup for the day in pride of place on their desk.
After a couple of years of listening to my mother go on about how I should take my flower beds “in hand” and “do something with them”, I decided to take her advice…. and toss it out the window.
Because while my mom’s flowerbeds are a carefully planned, meticulously weeded and pruned garden of gorgeous…
I’m a wildflower girl.
I picked up a few packets, and a shaker can full, of wild-looking perennials. I wanted to be able to shake them out over the flowerbeds, pat the dirt lovingly, sprinkle on the first layer of water – and walk away.
If something came up? Woo Hoo and HOORAY! If not? Ah well, there’s always leaf lettuce and dandelions.
And the following year, I was rewarded with trails of multi-colored surprises, marching up and down the sides of my driveway and under my bedroom window. Blues, purples, yellows, reds, orange, pink and white. I have a delicate, soft bed of chamomile that carpets the raised bed under my room window, with a tiny dwarf lilac bush rescued from my backyard a couple of years ago, at one end. There appeared in this same flowerbed this year, some miniature sunflowers (which I know I didn’t plant there, but are there nonetheless). They are sunny yellow, with deep, maroon centers, and they bob in the breeze and greet me when I come home.
These flowers are fighters. I don’t pamper them, by any means. They receive minimal attention, scant water (unless it falls from the sky), sporadic weeding, and absolutely no fertilizers. I will occasionally dead-head them, but usually only when I’m frustrated, and looking to take my irritation out on something that won’t talk back. And yet, they still pop up out of the ground every year, some years better and stronger than others. Bouncing and swaying in the breeze, catching the sunlight that peeks through the tree-canopy overhead, they deliver their own lovely welcome to me when I come home every night. They don’t fuss about what they lack, they don’t complain that I don’t spend enough time cleaning up after them, they simply get on with what they are there to do. Live.
So, while I do love cultivated and cut flowers, scented and carefully grown for florists to offer as signs of affection, love, loyalty, forgiveness, etc.?
I’m a wildflower at heart.