Have you ever walked through a grocery store and happened upon the fresh flower market? The aroma hits you like a wave of spring, as the colours create the canvas for some obscure collage of pastels with pops of red and green. The bouquets all wrapped up in crinkly cellophane or dotted wrapping paper. Buckets of fresh cut stems and little pots of flowering plants. Petite teddy bears and foil balloons with tiny cards to send wishes of joy, sympathy and love. It certainly is a feast for the senses. A friend of mine recently posted that she succomed to the calling and bought herself a potted beauty in pink! A personal pick-me-up, she wrote. So many of us are anticipating the fresh coming of spring, with its hope for warmer weather, fragrant earth, and a blip of colour peeking out of the garden. Especially after a year of lock downs, stay-at-home orders and Covid-19.
I never used to like flowers in the garden. Gardens should be practical. Food and useful stuff. Sure, I love a beautiful English Rose Garden, or a field of happy sunflowers, but anything more than a few potted geraniums to keep away the bugs, and it’s fine with me. This year, I am mellowing. Or maybe I am just experimenting with the whole sow and see theme. This year, I picked up flower seeds. Last year we tried a few Candula in hopes to make herbal “tea” – but the few blossoms we tried were not worth the brewing. Our sunflowers were tall, but few, and quickly eaten up by squirrels.
This year I picked up dahlia and nasturtium (you can eat those…practical!). We might even try wild mixes of sweet pea and butterfly-loving wildflowers. Why not?! Maybe I need to break out of my practical mode and be brave (ooh #wordoftheyear) and try my hand at something “impractical”. Or just convince myself that flowers are practical. Self care, perhaps? A personal pick me up? Maybe these flower fun-facts will convince me they belong in my urban garden:
- nasturtium, pansies, roses, sunflowers and violets are all edible… as are daisies, dandelions, hibiscus and honeysuckle (Check out our post on dandelion honey… so yum!)
- broccoli is actually a flower!! (also edible…duh)
- sunflowers are “hyperaccumulators” and suck up all kinds of toxins in the soil… they were even used to clean up the nuclear disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima (athensscienceobserver.com)
- the juice from bluebell flowers was used historically to make glue
- in Holland in the 1600’s, tulips bulbs were more valuable than gold
All this flower fun makes me wonder… did God just have fun with flowers? Throw splashes of colour here and there? Add weird shapes and patterns just to be creative? Hey, why not make some of them edible while we are at it? Or be able to suck up some some toxic waste that He knew we would mess up His world with in the future? An interesting muse… and a question I may add to my Heaven list for when I get there and have coffee with Adam and Eve. The science gal in me wants to just look at the flowering facts of pollination and seed and fruit production. But why not make practical things pretty too? Flowers. You’ve got to admit they are nice to look at, aren’t they? And most of them smell pretty good. Perhaps they are God’s personal pick-me-ups, too. Created just for fun, to be enjoyed by the quiet observer who might just plant a few in the garden — just to sow and see.