The wild rumpus has begun! I made my first trip to the greenhouse for the season, and my second. Where I live, it’s time for the pansies to brighten up the yard as the spring bulbs rotate through their annual splendor. Not such a good year for daffodils (so far), but the crocuses have been magnificent. In honor of a milestone birthday, I finally bought some flowering trees, and the nice fellers are going to plant them for me next week.
Nobody else in my large family goes bananas over yard flowers the way I do. My parents considered the yard a place that had to be mowed, period. None of this weed-whackin’, yard proud, keep up with the Orndorff’s, stuff. We had a three-acre property, so mowing was a big job (and riding mowers were for wimps, in my dad’s opinion). Mom had house plants, but she didn’t really do much outside other than a rose bush by the front door.
The yard flowers are my thing, and always have been. As a kid, I’d ramble through the woods and pick wild flowers, considering any bouquet with less than six different species a lesser effort. I love the fragrances and colors, but flower-gardening has other attributes of My Favorite Things.
Yard flowers are for pretty, and they get me outside into the fresh air. They make other people happy, even if it’s only in a fleeting, “Must be retired people living in that house,” way. I can undertake this activity by my little self, and I don’t have to leave the property to do it. Better still, nobody ever said to me, “I bet you’d enjoy stuffing hundreds of bulbs into the dirt.” I stumbled upon this joy all on my own.
Some years, I’m traveling for much of the planting season, and fall bulbs get the bulk of my efforts. Other years, I splurge on porch pots, or get experiment-y. I have yet to find a place on my whole two acres where azaleas are happy, but maybe this year…
Another aspect of yard-flower gardening that appeals to me is that it’s playful. Humans are the only species that stops playing in adulthood, at least in recent history, (and look how well that’s turning out). I would rather be like my cats and horses, having a morning yard-frolic on pretty days, messing with bouquets, and hearing the birdies sing. I do have a rule–I can’t buy any flowers until the ones I already have are planted–but other than that, I’m loose without supervision.
Do you have a way to play that’s all yours? A frolic with no agenda other than your own joy? To three commenters, I’ll send signed copies of When A Duchess Says I Do (anywhere in the world), which goes on sale Tuesday. If you’d like a shorter read to tide you over until then, I’ve put my novella, The Cowboy Wore a Kilt, on sale in the website store and on several major platforms.