As I look along the country roads I travel I notice the wildflowers that blossom unattended and without the aid of someone to till the soil. I have always loved wildflowers. The weather this year has caused things to grow a little out of the ordinary. Some things are earlier, some are later.
My flower boxes in spite of the drink that they get from watering are not flourishing. I would say they are simply existing. While they did not die, they are not full of blossoms either. The one exception is the basket of petunias that I received as a Mother's Day gift. That has managed to stay quite nice in spite of the dry weather.
Already the goldenrod is in blossom. I remember that being in full blossom when school was ready to start, so I have to say that is probably early this year.
The chicory is a bright blue next to the road. Chicory reminds me of the railroad tracks that were just a stone's throw from where I grew up. It is a recent newcomer around here, but it was growing along the tracks 60 years ago.
Queen Anne's lace is abundant. Whenever I see Queen Anne's lace it takes me back to my daughter's wedding. She had a lady who lived around here make her wedding flowers using all wildflowers. The bouquet and corsages were so pretty and so natural.
I've seen mallow and cinquefoil growing, too. The birds planted some cinquefoil in one of my beds, and I allowed it to stay there. The yellow flowers are so cheerful.
The tall mullein plants remind me of my husband's cousin. He had one of those growing in the garden behind the house when we visited. It looked very nice there lending a bit of height to the display.
Webster's defines a weed as "any undesired, uncultivated plant that grows in profusion so as to crowd out a desired crop or disfigure a lawn." When we transplant what is commonly known as a weed it loses that definition because now it is being cultivated. Many of my flower beds contain things that were formerly weeds. They grow there as perennials and I enjoy them. I even keep it weeded around them.
Try as I might I cannot get brown-eyed Susan's to grow here. I have tried and tried, but they flourish the first year and do not come up again.
My favorite wildflowers are daylilies, brown-eyed Susan's, Johnny jump-ups and coneflowers. The daylilies just finished blooming. My husband planted some of those for me in the bed near the Hickory Heights sign. This year they started to blossom before the end of June and kept right on going until just last week. It is such fun to find new blossoms each day. The coneflowers are now in full blossom. Those beautiful pink flowers came home from Virginia with us. We dug some when we visited my husband's aunt.
My son had some Johnny jump-ups that had to be moved. I went down and dug them up so I could plant them up here. With the dry weather it has been a challenge to keep them alive, but I still have a respectable showing, so I am hopeful that they will return next year.
A rose of Sharon had just a couple blossoms a week ago, but today it is loaded with gorgeous pinkish-purple blooms. That bush reminds me of my Uncle Bob. He brought several cuttings over here for us. I think most of them are still growing. Each of the children has a bush.
The columbines are long gone, but we brought those back from my cousin's house. They were digging some out and we were glad to get them. The birds spread them everywhere, but you can always pull out what you do not want. When I was at Chautauqua this season I found some other colors of columbine. Since they were in seed, I gathered some of the pods to see if I could get them to grow here. Time will tell what I got.
On another note if I say I had Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and Becky Thatcher here last week working for me, most of you can relate. The long white vinyl fence that fronts my yard was quite dirty. My children told their offspring that they could help grandma by washing the fence. I divided the whole thing into thirds so that each child would have a section. There is just one side of one section that still needs to be washed. I listened to the children singing and whistling as they worked.
I am not sure that any of them ever read "Tom Sawyer," but I think it might not be a bad idea. Now that they have worked on the fence they probably would enjoy it. I am pretty sure that I have at least one copy of the book so I could lend it out. Of course, they could also get it on one of our biweekly treks to the public library. That has turned out to be a special adventure that we all appreciate. We return our books, and then go out to lunch.
Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa.