It probably goes way back to my father’s Victory Garden outside of Buffalo. My love of gardens that is. I would sit on the back of his bicycle to get there and periodically my foot would get caught in the wheel. I was about 5 years old then. He grew many things, but I remember the tomatoes – and the red currants that we dipped in sugar and gobbled up. The lady who let him work her space grew flowers. She adored snapdragons and showed me how to make them snap. Then she gave me an armload of them to take home…on the bike with all the vegetables. And that was just wonderful to me!
Later, Daddy took my sister and me on hikes in the Vosges mountains in Alsace to see castle ruins and to pick berries. We took two large milk buckets and filled them after several hours of snacking…and work. Madame Karl lived next door and made us huge blueberry tarts. She got to keep one for her family of course. Finding berries in the wild is still a thrill. Sometimes you even see deer. (We never saw bears fortunately!)
My father also enjoyed photography and took thousands of wild flower photos in the Alps while hiking there. He looked up the flowers in a book upon his return: wild peonies, martagon lilies, and many more. He hiked there even in his 80s.
I find it very appropriate that the martagon lilies are in bloom for Father’s Day this year. I began my infatuation with them after he died, when I found that they made a good companion for my hellebores, flowering after the hellebore blooms were spent. I chose white ones because they brighten up the dark spot where they grow. But then a pink one snuck into my order…and well, I kept it for my Dad’s sake. And now I have some of each.
What strange weather we have this season…but I am enjoying the unusual flower combinations and the plant memories.