October 15th, 2010

A Garden in the Wild

I’ve never met a garden I didn’t like, although some I’ve taken to more than others. Growing up, we always had a huge vegetable patch, which we had to toil in, so on hot, sweaty days I didn’t favor that kind.

There is another variety, though, I’ve never minded working; the flowery, delicate garden. Even better are those brazen sweeps of color erupting in lonely fields, nothing but Mother Nature cradling and kissing them. They are wild and raw and turn your head affairs. If your car windows are down, you can sometimes detect the smell of cherry licorice or cloves, the air thick with scent. They shock and awe us. Rattle us awake. Like a little kid they shout, “Look at me! I made this just for you.” And we are left gaping.

I’m never more alive when I discover a field bursting with Indian paintbrush, like millions of ragged orange tubes of lipstick smearing the landscape. Or purple Popsicle bluebonnets, tinged with vanilla on top. And a dirt floor of Queen Anne’s lace, winter white fancy skirts on long, scrawny legs, dancing real slow as far as the eye can see.

Recently, in Vermont, I happened upon these amazing trees, decorating old cemeteries, limbs screaming with creamy white and pink buds. They look like lilacs, but not quite. Maybe someone will recognize this lovely thing by the picture I took.

Today I discovered a wild patch of black-eyed Susan’s, mingled with cedar, along a busy roadside, putting on a lavish butter yellow show. Tall and regal, they exploded in the sun. These tickets were all free. Joy comes in all kinds of packages, but I prefer my gifts from a Garden in the Wild.


6 Responses to “A Garden in the Wild”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    Dorraine, I felt the exact same way on our trip to and from Austin last week. I was awed to silence by the wild flowers along the route. They were beautiful beyond words. The Texas Bluebonnets are my favorite wildflower. When they are in abundance its a breathtaking scene. Most of the other flowers I don’t have the names for, but I love them too.

    Thanks so much for posting this.

  2. Deanna Schrayer Says:

    Beautiful post Dorraine, and just what I needed. I recognize the tree but am not sure of the scientific name; we have tons of them around here and call them snowball bushes (if I’m remembering correctly).

    My grandmother and aunt had enormous flower beds when I was growing up, with a lot of different varieties, but what I remember most are the roses. Every time I smell roses I think of Grannie.

    In most areas of VA we have tons of wildflowers growing in the median of the interstate. They were planted there in the hopes of “waking people up” and they do a good job of that. There are gorgeous long stretches of bluebells and a yellow one that I can’t recall the name of (simple, I’m just going blank). I absolutely love black-eyed Susans, but my favorite is red-orange poppies. Their vibrant burst of color is so beautiful I could get lost just looking at them.

    Thank you so much for a lovely Sunday morning read.

  3. Dorraine Says:

    E, bluebonnets are a favorite of mine, too! Such a thrill to see them up close and personal, and pose the kids for pictures in a wild field brimming in blue. The spring and fall wildflowers in Texas are just stunning.

  4. Dorraine Says:

    Thanks, Deanna! Yes, snowball bushes. We had them in Missouri. Although, they look somewhat like them, these were really more of a tree than anything. Maybe from the same family, though?

    Oh, poppies! They will surely knock a person awake. I happen to love them, too. I’ve tried planting those, several times, but haven’t had any luck.

    Your wildflowers in VA sound quite stunning. Ladybird Johnson started a program here in Texas, in the early sixties, to beautify the roadways, and her legacy is quite magnificent!

    Here’s to your Grannie and her roses!! :-)

  5. Paige Says:

    loverly. flowers. the smell of bonnets in blue the look of susan wearing a shinner, she was also known as the windblossom at our house when I was a kid. lol poor susie.

    it’s good to read ya and know you are well
    :-)

  6. Dorraine Says:

    Ha, Paige, little susie with the black eyes! Great to have you around, too. You keep me smiling!

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Eleven-year-old Marnie Evans longs to be precious. She wishes on stars for parents who adore her, even though her family is dysfunctional. She also believes that jack rabbits and a boot-wearing Texas angel show her mysterious signs of things to come. Continue Reading


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