What are your favorite flowers?
This being Valentine’s Day and all, and with my spring challenge yesterday, I’ve been thinking about flowers. I have a long list of favorites, and each one seems to have an emotional connection for me.
I love bulb flowers because they remind me of spring, my Dutch grandmother, and my childhood on the ranch in Idaho.
Proof of spring comes every year when the first crocus pokes their heads out of the ground. I delight in this cheerful splash of color, often cheerful bright reds and yellows against a snowy backdrop. Daffodils come next, with riotous cups and saucers, followed by the more dignified, elegant shapes of tulips. Meanwhile shy grape hyacinths cover the ground in a carpet of purple.
I might love grape hyacinths best, because they grew wild in the grass. I believe they had originally been planted to border the sidewalk to the ranch house. But they had long since broke the orderly boundaries and wandered willy-nilly across the lawn.
We picked them and put them in vases to decorate the table of our little playhouse. The berries made colorful additions to our mud pies. When I see grape hyacinths I am reminded of a carefree childhood running barefoot and free in the open spaces of our Idaho ranch.
Tulips, on the other hand, remind me of my proper grandmother. Somehow, in spite of living miles from civilization, living with her cattleman husband, surrounded by cows, flies and her half-wild grandchildren, she still managed to be a lady.
I had to grow to love tulips, as I had to grow to love my grandmother. As a child I didn’t quite appreciate the layers involved in both the flower and the woman.
Lilacs are another favorite flower. I am enamored of their beauty, the rich purples, lavenders and whites growing together in glorious bunch. To me they smell like summer. They are the gentile ladies of the flower world. I have tried and tried to get lilac bushes to grow around my home, but so far I have had no luck. But that won’t stop me from trying.
Columbine speak to me of alpine summers. I remember “sucking the nectar” out of the flowers when I was young. Now I just admire the delicate colors and remarkable structure of the blooms.
Who doesn’t love roses, with their rich, fruity smell? The scent of roses is faintly reminiscent of raspberries and my favorite soda pop, Dr Pepper. If you don’t believe me, think of these two things the next time you sniff a rose and see if you can pick up the scent.
But I am also partial to wild roses. The simple, five petal flowers of a gentle pink hue bring such charm to any woodland scene.
Then there are the saucy faces of pansies and jonny-jump-ups, the showy glory of mums, and the fanciful shapes of flowers we called bleeding hearts, although I don’t know their scientific name.
I love giant sunflowers, with their bold, bright beauty, and the delicate wash of color found in Indian paintbrush growing wild among sagebrush of the open western planes.
The truth is I love them all. I love the blossoms on cactus, fruit trees and weeds. Maybe one day I can be as generous with my love of all people.