Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 163: Columbine

Day 163: Columbine, originally uploaded by susanvg.

How does a flower become a favourite? Sometimes it is its incredible complexity - certainly that is one reason I love columbines. There is so much to look at and examine when you view the flower. However, to me, the way a flower becomes a favourite is often because of the stories attached to it.

Growing up, we had a country place and my mother loved her garden. I can still picture the patch of lupins near the front door. The soil in the area is sandy, so the garden had to be nurtured, with good soil added regularly. In the back of the house there was a row of monarda whose bright red colour attracted hummingbirds. I have never had much success with either of those flowers. Right near the house, my mother had several columbines.

Now, I usually left the gardening to my mother; in those days, I didn't know a weed from a prized plant. I learned the hard way. One summer, I wanted to try my luck at planting a few vegetables. My mother was so delighted with my interest in gardening that she agreed immediately. So my new husband and I looked to see where the sun might help produce a good crop and we dug and planted. To my mother's horror, we had dug up some of her columbines. Our vegetables did not thrive, but, fortunately, we had not pulled all the columbines and they did thrive.

Long after that, when I was planting my own garden at the home I am in now, I planted columbines - and they flourish and spread. Each time I stop to admire them, I think of my mother and that is why they are special favourites of mine. Their beauty and complexity bring back memories of her - and the beauty of her character that always shone with love for those near to her.


  1. Susan, that's a beautiful story. I love columbines; I call them Granny's bonnets. I associate (what we call) geraniums (actually pelargoniums) with my grandmother. She loved them, and I remember her going into the garden. I'd wait until her behind was up in the air, knowing that she'd be digging around for a long time. Then I'd stuff my mouth with flour from her box of flour in the pantry. I loved to eat flour as a child. If she returned to soon, I'd pretend I didn't have a mouth full of flour, but occasionally the inhaled flour would give me away by making me cough.

  2. Wonderful story. I can just see your mom's face when you made that error. I'm not a garden person and I can add your issue to my excuses. LOL. My mom was not a good gardener, but she liked to putter and you have reminded me of some her actions many years ago. Thanks for that.

  3. Love these flowers. Nice story to go with a pretty photo.

  4. Hello Susan - I also love Columbine and have several colors in my garden. However, I have never seen a pink one - they're truly beautiful. Some types of flowers remind me of my Mother, too.