Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"A Brand New Garden..."

Back in Illinois, on the north side of our concrete patio right outside the sliding glass patio doors, sits an ever growing patch of lovely Lily of the Valley. The first "slip" that started the garden was given to me by Nancy, a good friend who also happened to be the art teacher in our school. At the time I wondered, knowing little to nothing about gardening, how could a bed of flowers ever grow from such a spindly, small single plant?

Time passed and when the garden was still young, I just might find maybe a dozen or so stems every spring to pick...I would place the precious stems in a small crystal vase and carry them from room to room with me, cherishing the delicate blooms and enjoying their light delicate fragrance. It was heavenly.

As the years marched on, the little flower bed grew with vigor. And, each May without fail (and remember, without any gardening expertise on my part) a lovely bed of rich green leaves and tiny bell shaped flowers would pierce through the dark rich soil and sing to my heart. My spirit was enriched with the joy those little flower blooms brought. I picked many full bunches of stems and had them all throughout the house. I shared them with family, and neighbors, and colleagues at school. I would always present my mother with a big bouquet on Mother's day.

Today, I live in Arizona. I am surrounded by some of the most gorgeous natural landforms on the planet. Everywhere I look there is rugged beauty...full of legend and antiquity. Happily, I still do have beautiful plants and flowers and colors all around me. But, it is a different kind of beauty...very geometric, rigid, and spiny, and usually, very thorny as well. Things here are very different indeed. The soil is compacted and stony and a reddish tan in color. Spring comes earlier...and today, May 14th, the weather forecasters are predicting triple digit temperatures by the weekend. This is to be expected for the surprises here... nostalgic celebration of my Lily of the Valley, I drew a spindly little "slip"...similar to the same planting which started my Illinois flower bed over 20 + years ago. I share it now with new artistic "neighbors". I smile at it's spirit still enriched by the memories of the lavish bouquets of the past. It is all good.

Now...I "plant" brand new a whole new environment...gardens this time of the "sketchbook variety". This indeed brings great joy to my heart! And...come to think of it...I know this would definitely put a big smile on Nancy's face too! :)


Anita Davies said...

Absolutely gorgeous and undeniably YOU Margaret!

Lisalou said...

So pretty, Margaret and a wonderful "story bonus"!

MaryO said...

Just beautiful, Margaret, and your story reminds me how much I miss my valley lilies, too!

Lynn said...

This is lovely! You have a wonderful style!

E-J said...

I love the patterns you have weaved in and among your flower drawings here!

I'm a very recent convert to gardening and my "Flower Expert" book tells me their Latin name is Convallaria. The Latin names are usually more attractive-sounding, but in this instance I think "lily-of-the-valley" has greater beauty.

Perhaps the greatest joy of a sketchbook garden is that its flowers will never fade!

Teri C said...

What a sweet story, one we can all probably relate to. I have childhood memories of those lilies. Gorgeous drawing to commemorate that first planting.

Judybec said...

Lovely memories and so well written!
I just picked a bunch of Lily-of-the-valley and put them beside my bed--they do smell heavenly!
I'm glad you're enjoying the beauty that surrounds you now too:-)

Sandy said...

Another beauty! wow.


lyn said...

In Minnesota the lilies were commonon the north side of many houses. Lovely little plant, I've tried to grow them 40 miles inland of San Diego with no luck. Jack in the pulpit, was another you've reminded me of. Nice drawing!