A Fist Full of Flowers


Wild Chickweed and Violets

I’ve always loved flowers.  Always.  Earlier this summer I was reminded of some of my first childhood memories of flowers.  As a very young child I soon learned as my father’s shadow, what flowers were in season.  We would go to the poplar forest as the leaves were just emerging from winter rest, the sun having warmed last autumn’s carpet, coaxing hepaticas to speckle the brown and gray with white, blue and mauve.  Usually that was consistently around Mother’s Day so we would return, fists full of tiny flowers, stems barely crossing the width of a palm.  Mom would find a shot glass to hold the crushed bouquets.  We never picked enough to fill it, our efforts always seemed so diminished by the empty spaces. I learned early that for flowers were best displayed and stayed fresh longer the longer the stems were.

The next offering of spring would be the marsh marigolds, then violets blue and white, followed by lilacs, buttercups, bluebells, wild anemone, something Dad labeled Kentucky Bluegrass, red clover, brown eyed susans, asters and goldenrods.  A bouquet would be barely wilted and I would be bringing Mom another from the fields and the woods.  Before I was taught to know better, I would bring bunches of daisies.  Dad held them in low regard because they were a weed, spoiling the hay harvest.  Plus they stunk, and brought tiny crawly bugs with them into the house that fell and littered any surface the vase holding those sunny faces set off with pure white petals sat on.  He loves me, he loves me not.  I spent hours trying to teach myself the art of daisy chains and consistently unsatisfying attempts at flower crowns to set on my white blond head.

Dad would take us to the spruce forests to search for Calypso Ladyslippers and the blueberry hills for Pink Moccasins and Indian Pipe.  There were excursions into the bog to seek out swamp laurel and pitcher plants.  We observed trout lilies, mayflowers, and never picked wood lilies, or irises.  Dad recalls seeing trilliums blooming just over the crest of the hill, on the east side of the field where we entered the bush to look for hepaticas weeks earlier, but I never managed to locate any on our place.  I enjoyed watching the bees visit the blueberry and raspberry and strawberry and chokecherry blossoms, leaving them alone in anticipation of sweet fruit and berries.  We would beg Dad to guide the boat into the lily pads to collect brilliant white water lilies and butter yellow spatterdock.

I was intoxicated by the scents of twin lilies and lilacs and goldenrods.  I’d search out Canada Thistle and whittle it down with my pocket knife because I had heard once that if you were ever lost in the woods you could survive on its pithy stems.

Flowers are perfect.

Luke 12:27  “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

FP – Black Snowballs and Summer Flowers


DSC_0897This is my woobie.  I finally finished quilting the last half dozen black snowballs and threw it in the washer this morning.  It crinkled up really nice.  The fabrics were purchased at various quilt shops on our Tofino holiday.  It’s been cold this winter, so I must confess I have been using it for some time. It was on my list of things to finish before I could start piecing another top.  Check!  DSC_0896

Flowers in Snow


Finally I am past the quilting stage for the scrappy Snowball Quilt that I am finishing for someone else.  There are a number of floral fabrics in this project so I decided on freemotion daisy type flowers.  The thread is a YLI product called Dawn, pale orange/yellow/green/off white.  I think it worked well, really standing out on the dark blocks and almost disappearing on the contrasting ones.  It was what I was aiming for, as an attempt to tie the blocks together.  The results are great, the non-uniformity of the flowers fits in well with the wonky cut blocks.  The binding is 95% done.  I should have another FP tomorrow!

The Royal Colour

I have a love affair with purple.  In the three years I have lived in this place I have endeavoured to convert most of the plants in the flower garden to shades of mauve to the very darkest of purples that kiss the edge of black.

I was most pleased with the sweet peas this year.

The Delphinium was a good choice too.











The yarrow is a pleasing colour, but it is so invasive.  I ripped up a clump of if a couple of weeks ago.  Already the persistent missed roots are re-establishing themselves.

For fun, here is one of the top searches for ‘purple poems.’

“Purple Cow” is the name of a well-known poem by Gelett Burgess, written in 1895:

The original “Purple Cow,” from 1895

I never saw a purple cow.
I never hope to see one.
But I can tell you anyhow
I’d rather see than be one

Acts 16:14
One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.

Garden Update

The second flowers to appear in the garden.  Tulips are one of my favourites, particularly white and mauve and purple.  Surprised?

A little purple faced pansy managed to sneak in there.  So adorable, I love their little faces.

One can never depend on the claims on packages of bulbs.  The light coloured blossoms were supposed to be Shirley tulips, but they are quite a bit more yellow than I hoped.  Still beautiful.

Finally, I am pleased by how well the succulents survived the winter of mild temperatures and very little snow.  There were enough -40 C days that put the perennials at risk.  Many of the others did not fare so well.  I think I will have to replace the Siberian Iris and all the Crane’s Bill.


A Walk on the Wild Side

2 Kings 4:39   One of them went out into the field to gather herbs; he found a wild vine and gathered from it a lapful of wild gourds, and came and cut them up into the pot of stew, not knowing what they were.

I am always interested, in everything.  Remember those knowledge books for children in the 60’s.  Everything you wanted to know about; astrology, rocks, fish, plants, just about any topic you could thing of.  My mom didn’t buy them too often, I think they may have been quite pricey.  I would read them from cover, over and over again.  I was fascinated by all the information and pictures they contained.  As a result I am a repository of a lot of rarely used or applicable natural history trivia.  There still exists a wealth of facts I don’t have stored away somewhere, or never knew in the first place.  But then, we have the internet now, and a plethera of applications for iphones, or smart phones, or all those other wireless devices I don’t own.  Come on, really, an app to remind you where you parked your car?  If it continues at this rate we won’t need our brains any more, although the regression in evolution in that aspect will be more than made up for by enlarged thumbs.  (I typed my email address into a blackberry today, I though I had fairly slender fingers!)

It wasn’t my intention for this to become something of a rant, rather, a vehicle for showing off a few more pictures.  These are of plants, most of which I can name, at least one that I can’t.  (I didn’t have to do a google search to do so either)

Salmon Berry Blossoms







Skunk Cabbage








Fiddle heads


Wild Rose & Bee


These were all taken in the park behind our house in Burnaby BC.  One or both of us walked there daily to exercise the dogs and get a breath of nature in the continuous encounter of people, traffic, buildings and roads that is the Lower Mainland.  A nice place to visit, but we are grateful not to live there anymore.





How does the garden grow?

The flower garden is really nice this year.  A little too much yellow, but it makes a good contrast for the blues, purples and dark, dark red flowers.