Posted by: A Part of the Solution | May 12, 2010

Flower Arrangements

It’s interesting, so many people don’t necessarily notice the blessings regularly showered on them through the course of their lives. I don’t say I’m completely alert to the ongoing beneficence of the universe, but I am aware that there are certain aspects of my life handed to me by the hard-work and understanding of others. Flower arrangements, for example, are on that list.

I don’t really garden. I appreciate gardens. I lend a hand in gardens. I do as I’m told in gardens. And I’m not bad at the death-in-life aspects of gardens. I’m the one you want to pull weeds, thin plants, prune shrubs, tie back spent bulbs and generally make room for new life by denying present existence. I’m actually grateful to be as helpful as that, as I suspect I’ve earned my mother’s black thumb.

In Takoma Park, my sister lived with me (Hi AMY!) for years. She had time on her hands when she first arrived, and cleared a half dozen years of neglect from my yard. Two hundred yard-waste bags to the curb later and she began to put things in. For five years she worked every spare minute she had (really, around the clock on her days off) to turn the yard into a paradisaical garden. And a cutting garden at that. I practiced arranging bouquets of whatever was in bloom the whole time we continued to live there.

Imagine my delight when I found I’d inherited a spectacular set of borders and beds around the house and home acres here on my farm. Trica Skidmore, the prior owner-gardener, must have worked herself silly to make such a beautiful garden. It’s got variety. It’s got succession. It’s got border structure and sensitivity to amount of light and prevailing wind. And it’s got flowers I can cut from April into early November.

My first guests at the Bed and Breakfast on the farm no doubt assumed I’d done the arrangements (one in every sleeping room and bathroom) just for them. This is indeed the case. But I’m committed to the same degree of thoughtfulness for each and every person who stays here. It gives me enormous pleasure to arrange a few tokens of the season into a visually compelling, odoriferous poem to the season. Sometimes, part of an arrangement uses weeds and wildflowers. But I won’t use any of the deep-woods plants on endangered lists which may reside on my property.

There are people coming up this weekend. I have bluebells, and cat-mint and wild-geraniums, and the end of dogwoods and those big, showy irises–like bridesmaids at a first wedding–in the yard right now. In a few more days I may have some of those more delicate Siberian irises. Sadly, the chickens like to hang out just where the Siberian irises are growing. I won’t have many this year. Next year, the chickens’ll be grooving over by the coop and tool shed. And it looks like the iris corms could be divided and spread.

Come on up any time and I’ll make you a lovely flower arrangement! I guarantee!


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