Bachelor Buttons Matted Within a Sky Blue Frame

January calls for lovely images of summer. This second hand store find features one of my favorite flowers, bordered with pale blue resembling a fair summer sky.

Before I know it, I will be on my back in the grass, gazing at eye level blossoms like these. Something to focus upon, to quell anxious moments when weather forecasts include snow and ice.

Here’s how to grow these flowers next summer if you’re interested. Here’s one version of how to paint them – but I created prettier ones, if I do say so myself, a few years ago when I copied a printed design from a vintage plate.

This post includes some interesting theories regarding how bachelor’s buttons, also known as cornflowers, got their name(s).

Petite Petals of Lovely Lobelia

Lobelia always reminds me of calico printed, 100% cotton dresses; summer afternoons spent watching my grandmother can tomatoes. There’s no cooler, more comfortable fabric on a hot summer day than pure, soft cotton. Yet, today, lightweight cotton blouses and dresses aren’t always easy to find.

Lobelia is a plant I discovered through a friend. Now I can’t live without at least one every summer; for the memories it triggers of fabrics and friends, and its own special beauty.

Alliums Dazzled My Neglected Flowerbeds this Spring

I’m a bit behind in loading photos sometimes. And I must admit I’m trying to put less pressure on myself. We all need to disconnect, immerse ourselves in nature, think about nothing . . . after following the news so closely this tragic spring.

Allium(s)? are one of my favorite spring flowers, but like iris, they just don’t last long enough.

They look so lovely and star-like in a mechanical sort of manner. Word to describe them accurately, obviously fail me today.

My brain needs a bit more rest.

Our most creative brainstorms come when we’ve cleared our minds.

Geraniums – The Flower that Makes Us Think of Home

A clay pot filled with pretty, cheerful geraniums symbolizes home to many of us.

Geraniums seem American to me, but The Complete Language of Flowers by Sheila Pickles says they are found all over the world.

I always think of them as the most domestic of plants, their bright blooms that last all year cheering family and visitors from their spots on indoor tables and windowsills, in pots on doorsteps, or nestled in flowerbeds.

Sheila Pickles associates them with the Mediterranean “where they tumble out of terracotta pots and down painted stone walls, the very color of them creating a festive mood.”

Most people purchase fresh geranium plants each spring, but I have saved the roots over winter, hung them upside down in a cool place, and replanted them the following spring. I’ve also over-wintered them as houseplants, back when I had the space.

New plants can be started from cuttings too, if one has time to do so.

They’re generally carefree and easy to grow, and reward us well with their mood lifting color, whether we select traditional scarlet red, or the myriad pinks and whites available in today’s garden centers.

Parfait of Vehicles, Blossoms, Emerging Leaves

Springtime seems to finally be coming to the Midwest. This lovely seasonal view of a normally mundane parking lot seemed so unique I wanted to share. A momentary distraction from the recent worries we all face.

Buttercups Bring Memories of Earlier Days

Buttercups are symbols of childishness and ingratitude according to The Complete Language of Flowers by Sheila Pickles.

I don’t get the ingratitude part, but they do remind me of being a child, of finding true delight, amazement, boundless energy to explore woods and fields when spring pulls back the curtain of winter clouds, revealing a world of green and gold, the color of buttercups.

I remember when I first discovered these flowers, when I was about ten, hiding in a low spot in the field behind our house. I visited them there each spring, then one year transplanted some to the northwest corner of our house, where they grew reliably for years.

I also recall a kid’s book I probably still have in the depths of a closet, I think the title was Around and About Buttercup Farm.

It is said that buttercup juice blisters the skin but that it’s also been used as a remedy to cure gout and rheumatism, and, as a tincuture, to cure shingles and sciatica. (Don’t try any of those cures at home, or anywhere.)

This verse by Thomas Campbell (1774-1844) takes me back to childhood springs:

Field Flowers

By Thomas Campbell

 Ye field flowers! The gardens eclipse you, ‘tis true:

Yet, wildlings of nature! I dote upon you,

For ye waft me to summers of old,

When the earth teemed around me with fairy delight,

And when daisies and buttercups gladdened my sight

Like treasure of silver and gold.

 

 

 

 

Happy Mothers Day 2020 in Spite of Closed Restaurants and Predictions of Snow

This stressful spring seems to never end and now parts of the country are experiencing wintry weather when we’d rather be strolling aisles of greenhouses, bringing home flowers to plant for our mothers.

But like the hope of a mother for the future of a newly born child, we must remember that all things pass. Maybe, just maybe, when hot weather does arrive, it will burn out this virus.

But until the danger disappears, immunity comes, or a vaccine is developed and administered, we must continue to wear masks and social distance.

That won’t stop us from remembering our mothers in some way, whether we reside with them, or they are separated from us, as residents in nursing homes; places where precious citizens reside whom we must continue to protect as they are the most vulnerable among us.

If you can visit your mother, deliver dinner – her favorite takeout or a meal you cooked yourself.

If you can’t see her in person, connect via phone if possible, or send flowers. Think positive. Stay warm. Celebrate memories. Sunny days will eventually arrive on both a figurative and literal basis.

 

Lilacs – Flowers of Love and Death

Lilacs are said to symbolize first emotions of love. But white lilacs have dual associations of youthful innocence and also death.

Supposedly a white lilac will refuse to bloom if another lilac in the garden is cut down. Some say it’s bad luck to bring a white lilac into the house.

I don’t know about those concepts, but to me lilacs symbolize the fairest time of year – early to mid-May, and Mother’s Day. I recall picking a bouquet many years during young adulthood, as a gift for my mother on that holiday.

Their sweet scent was a welcome perfume in the kitchen where the purple – and yes, we had white ones too— blooms ruled the dining table for days.

The lovely photo is from Sheila Pickles’ The Complete Language of Flowers.

 

 

 

 

The Library is Closed But Flowers Still Bloom

Love the lemon yellow daffodil against the sizzling pink creeping phlox.

This library flowerbed used to be more extensive but at least some of the plants still bloom as I sit in my outdoor “car” cubicle. I enjoy working outside but can’t wait to pick up new books when someday the building opens.

Ohio is supposed to begin opening businesses the first of May. Though I questioned the closings initially, now I believe we should all stay separated a bit longer to quell COVID-19 and prevent huge spikes of cases in the future.

The BBC praised Ohio Governor DeWine for reacting to the crisis while others waited, but now I feel he’s jumping the gun, falling to political pressure.

Who would think politics would enter into suppression of a pandemic, but sadly that seems to be the case.

At least the sight of these flowers is renewing my optimism, on this dreary drizzly April day.