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flowers of my childhood…

September 16, 2013

Okay, I feel compelled – after my last Alice in Wonderland look at the peonies in the Halifax Public Gardens – to take you back to the wonderful simplicity of wild flowers. Although, the way they are also cultivated these days, and the seeds sold to us in little packets, what is “wild” anymore is debatable.

More accurately they are flowers of my childhood growing up in rural Ontario.



For most of us, their commonness has led to their banality. Like the red-breasted robin, that no one looks at or ever listens to (sadly, for they have an astonishing range of calls and twitters – and love to call back to you if you make the effort to try to mimic their calls), few take the time to look at the “common” flowers that simply grow in our neighbourhoods, or in little spaces no one cares about.


These are not objects-of-art like the more ostentatious flowers at the Public Gardens. Just simple everyday quiet reminders of nature’s beauty – lying on the edge of a parking lot, like these dwarf daisies. And unless you stop and look, you never see them.

And maybe that’s the whole point. You have to stop and look. Be mindful, as the Buddhists say.

Strangely, many of us will use herbicides to destroy our naturally occurring flowers, so we can have perfectly green lawns (that surround our planted flower gardens). But, tell me, how are these weeds?

dandelion 1

There is a whole universe in the dandelion that has gone to seed. If you look…



My plastic-sealed bag of garden soil I bought this spring at the supermarket came with the label “99% free of weeds and/or seeds”. Thank God this flower made it through. It climbed my palm tree all summer long and continuously exploded all over the place!



Now, I am not saying that one type of flower is better that the other. Who doesn’t love the razzle-dazzle of the flowers I posted last time? I imagine, that even when half-dead, like these past-their-prime sunflowers on our kitchen table, they would still make any child’s eyes burst with happiness.


I have a deep fondness for the simpler flowers introduced to me by my mother and her magic flower gardens that lined the walls of our farmhouse as a child…for they remind me of open fields, and horses, and humming birds, and bees – and of our cat, who would lounge in the sun on the porch, while I drank iced tea, and read a book…

(and thus ends the talk on flowers…)



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