Herald the Season’s Change
Flowers punctuated the yards of my mother, and both grandmothers during my growing up years. Sweet peas climbed the mesh attached to the wall of our garage, giving a sweet fragrance bouquet, and riot of colour as we looked out our kitchen window. Crimson salvia and geraniums nestled against the deep green of ferns and accented the vegetable garden. Each spring my grandmother’s back yard filled with the fragrance of lilacs, and my other grandmother had a wide array of colours and types of flowers blooming in her yard. She liked to treat herself to picking one bloom to treasure indoors as well.
Yet, even though I grew up surrounded by the beauty and fragrance of many types of flowers, I seem to have missed inheriting a green thumb. I still enjoy looking at other people’s flower gardens and even photos of flowers, but growing them myself has been a challenge through the years – one I tend to accept at this point, especially when many fragrances adversely affect my asthma.
Just because I do not grow flowers, I have several favourites. One is the crocus, that tiny flower that reminds me of the inevitability of spring’s arrival, no matter how harsh, cold and long the winter months could be. For a number of years I lived with my husband and children in the country. A steep hill of untouched prairie rose from beyond the hedge on the north side of our yard, visible from my kitchen window. I loved my first glimpse of pale, purple crocus blooms peeking out from the melting snow, patches of ice and dead winter grasses. They were the first sign of spring and dotted that prairie hillside with colour. It has been years since we lived in that location, but I can close my eyes and see the hillside dotted with the hope of spring.
My other favourite flower is one that offers a jaunty sense of happiness just with its presence. Pansies, with their vibrant colours and perky smiling faces, grow easily in our prairie climate. In fact, one summer, I even attempted having a few pots of them in my tiny, stone covered, townhouse yard. They survived my lack of gardening skills and brought me smiles all summer.
When warm weather returned the next spring I debated about getting more pansies for my yard. Looking outside I noticed a bit of colour among the rocks. Investigating further I realized the pansies had seeded themselves and now bravely pushed through the rocks. All summer those two or three brave, bright spots defied the odds and cheered me by their presence.
I may not grow many flowers and usually none at all. Yet I still love to search, each spring, for a pale purple dot on the prairie and know the crocuses herald the coming spring. During the growing season my eyes are drawn to the fun, vibrant hues of the pansy. In fact I almost bought a pot of them for my apartment deck. Oh well, perhaps I will just enjoy them in other people’s gardens.
Written by: Carol Harrison