The Trouble With Flowers

The Trouble With Flowers

December 09 2021

In May the anemones bloom. Then there’s pasqueflowers, tulips, grape hyacinths, violas, bergenia and bleeding heart. Towards the end of May the trees start blooming and I’m a goner-crabapples, nannyberries, mountain ash, and hawthorns and the shrubs- the viburnums, dogwoods, spirea, hydrangeas, sand cherries, mock orange and the delightful Turkestan Burning Bush. Then it’s lilac time, and rose time and poppy time and summer in all its glory is here. Right in time with their own internal clocks, the flowers keep coming-Joe Pyle, echinacea, rudbeckia, clematis, day lilies, peonies, and all the annual flowers. Even if all these floriferous plants didn’t require my attention to grow and thrive, I can’t leave for long and risk missing something blooming-something I’ve waited a year to see or possibly even two or three years. And that, my friend, is the trouble with flowers. I am grounded in more ways than one. Home it is.

One time of year I would hate to miss is lilac season. (Yes, there are many more seasons than four!) For those few short weeks in late May and early June my garden chores always lead me past a lilac bush no matter where I’m actually headed. One of my favorites is called ‘Sensation’, a lilac colored lilac, but each petal is rimmed with white. There are pink lilacs, white, burgundy, and yellow, but the word lilac is from the Persian word ‘nilak’ meaning indigo, which in turn is from the Sanskrit ‘nila’ meaning light blue. Nowadays everyone knows what color lilac is! Given the name origin, it’s easy to see lilacs are native to Easter Europe and Asia, but they are certainly at home in North America-inveterate gardener Thomas Jefferson had them in his gardens. Lilacs are hardy and long-lived, it’s likely that my lilacs will outlive me. My husband and I recently drove to an old railroad town by the Missouri River-only a few foundations were left-and a lilac bush.

The Latin name, Syringa, is from the Greek word ‘syrinks’ for pipe because the Greek god of the forests and fields fell in love with a nymph named Syringa who turned herself into a lilac bush to escape him because she was afraid of him. Myth has it that Pan made the first panpipes from lilac wood. On another side note-we cut some old lilac wood into slices and it is beautiful-and guess what? Lilac colored layers!

There are so many flowers and no matter how many I have I want another one (you should probably take that ‘one’ with a grain of salt). That’s just one more issue with flowers that will never resolve itself and I’m pretty sure there’s no therapy for it so I’m doomed. One could do worse.