What is it about flowers that we love so much?
There are not enough words in the English language to answer this question. From as early as my first memories of my Aunt Avis arranging florals for one of her Home Interior parties to my Mawmaw Bell tending her mail-order irises near the storm cellar, flowers have marked so many seasons in my life, mostly spring to summer.
One year I took a break from college to “find myself,” and out of sheer boredom found myself from dawn to dusk in Mama’s garden. Together, well, mostly me sweating and her glistening from the porch swing, we transformed the yards around our little stone cottage in the woods into something worthy of Martha Stewart. Azaleas still make my heart smile, a myriad of colors announcing their arrival in early spring near the manicured boxwoods framing that little sidewalk so many feet had trodden.
We planted hundreds of gladiolas around the corners of the house, near the old wooden light pole and under Mama’s prized fig trees, well, mostly me pushing the wheelbarrow with her directing its every turn. Golden marigolds spilled out of sunny window boxes sharing space with petunias, and then there were the roses.
One of my favorite photos is of my mama’s old-fashioned climbing rose wrapped around the cedar post at the front door of our home on Dykes Chapel Road. If you look closely you can see Daddy’s woodpile and the window that Mama propped in with such ease studying passerby cars, happy hummingbirds or grandchildren playing under the water hose. It was in full show from March through June with a shade of pink that was intoxicating.
When I dress my table with a bouquet of stargazer lilies or blue hydrangeas, I pause for a few moments to warmly remember the flowers of my youth and the memories of my Mama, still blooming.