A Home In The Meadow
July 27 2020
1. I grew up on the prairie where I used to ride my horse for hours and hours across many miles of grasslands largely undisturbed by civilization. As long as I closed gates behind me it was understood that it was ok to go anywhere I wanted.
2. In high school chorus I learned the song ‘A Home In The Meadow’ set to the tune of the old folk song ‘Greensleeves’. The lyrics explains why I always tied these two things together:
Away, away, come away with me Where the grass grows wild and the wind blows free Away, away, come away with me And I’ll build you a home in the meadow
3. I have a copy of a Harvey Dunn painting of a woman picking wildflowers on a South Dakota homestead called ‘The Prairie Is My Garden’, the same one my grandmother had.
So how on earth are these things related? Here’s my (maybe inexplicable) train of thought: horse-meadow-song-prairie-wildflowers. Well, maybe it’s not so surprising that my thoughts turn to wildflowers and the stories my grandmother told of picking wildflowers as a child. I didn’t know much about any flowers when I was young, but for some reason, I knew one I found on those rides across the prairie, the pasqueflower, probably because it’s the state flower of South Dakota.
There are 33 species of pasqueflowers in North America, Europe and Asia-other names are windflower, prairie crocus, or meadow anemone. They bloom in the spring near Easter, thus the name pasque, which is Old French for Easter.
Wild pasqueflowers have lovely soft petaled purple blooms and feather plumed seed heads. The entire plant is covered with silky hairs. The ones I bought at a greenhouse are called ‘Red Bells’ and are (obviously) red. They are tough plants, I always found them on dry, rocky hillsides in the hot sun.
They are used medicinally (one use is for anxiety) but are poisonous enough to make it generally unadvisable unless you are an experienced herbalist.
Pasqueflowers will always speak to me of my gardening grandmother and the prairies where I grew up, miles wide, where my horse and I raced the cloud’s shadows across the land.
Pasqueflowers, pulsatilla patens, or anemone patens, pulsatilla vulgaris ‘red bells’