Thursday, June 16, 2011

Picking the Flowers

The first season after I planted my perennial flower garden, my oldest child, who was three at the time, presented me with a bouquet of daffodils. She had picked every single flower from my infant garden. I thanked her anyway. After all, she had created a beautiful gift for me. Then I told her how much I love dandelion bouquets. She took the hint and spent the rest of the summer picking dandelions.

This season, history repeated itself when I found my daffodils in a vase courtesy of my second child, who is three years-old now. I tried the same tactic, but he seemed a bit more savvy about the desirability of various flower species. He boldly proclaimed his distaste for "lion flowers".

In many ways, my garden has been a labor of love. In others, it has just been labor. Lots of labor. When I began planting three years ago, my entire yard was dead. I have spent countless hours coaxing it to life. I thrill when I see my efforts rewarded with healthy, blooming plants and cringe when my flowers are sentenced to death by picking.

While I cringe, another part of me is gratified that someone else loves my garden as much as I do. My children squeal with delight when they find new flowers in bloom. They examine the shapes and colors. My baby lies down and puts his whole face into the plants, opening his mouth to breathe in the fragrance.
The curb appeal of my garden suffers from the incessant picking, but joggers who glance at my yard as they go past couldn't possibly appreciate my flowers as much as the children who keep picking them.

Even if my son had left them alone, the daffodils would have been dead by now anyway, replaced by irises and the newest bloomers to my garden, the poppies. I spotted my first poppy of the season a couple days ago, just a few moments before my son saw it too and plucked it. I found out later that it hadn't actually been the first poppy anyway. My son had already picked that one the day before.

Yesterday, when my son brought me a daisy, I put it in my hair and wore it. Then I let my daughter pick one for her hair, too. The flowers will come back again next season. My children will never be this young again.

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