Thursday, May 06, 2010


WILDFLOWER


One of the reasons I love gardening is the challenges it poses, especially up here, trying to grow vegetables where no vegetables have ever grown, in the face of monkeys deer, wild pigs and so forth; there are so many facets that it's always new, like being a seed myself. Another thing I like is the flowers. Finding flowers that will survive here, even thrive here. I'm still trying. And losing, mostly.

Last year I scattered a few different packets of wild flower mixes of unspecified particularities over our small landscapy gardens out in front of the house, where some narcissus and wild iris (the latter getting rare, I hear) survive, but not much else (the monkeys dug up and ate the lily bulbs), and everything competes with the bamboo. A couple of tiny wild flower plants are there this year in one area, but over in the other area something really caught on, and found a niche. Bushy low foliage it had, with a tiny red spot at the feathery leaf tips, maybe 40 cm high, spreading to maybe a meter in width so far, then last month it began putting out long thin stalks that developed pointy new tips on them, like little pale-green witches' hats.

Then the little hats began to change to tan, then gold shone through, then one of them began to split at the bottom and halfway up, and I could see there was a vivid orange-gold something in there; it stayed that way for days, until at last I could stand it no longer and gave a tug on the pointy tip of the "hat," which slid off in a silken way to reveal a tucked-up, thin-petaled, gold-orange flower, which the next morning opened fully into brightness, then closed when evening came. I had no idea what it was. Something from the cosmos family?

It seemed familiar though, so I image-googled "flowers that close at night" and there it was, right up top! It was a California poppy! A flower I had first beheld at sunset nearly 40 years ago on the upper meadows of Big Sur, a place I visited many times while living in Berkeley...

And here was my colorful old friend come to thrive in my garden on the other side of the world, shouting out dozens of that same orange hello.


2 comments:

Chrissy said...

LOL, well lucky you.. The first time I came across a Ca.poppy was when my Dad took us on a ride out to Lancaster where there are fields of poppies... I'll never forget the time we picked them and soon had to let them go.... A ranger came up to my Dad and told us they were a state flower and were protected.... If so, why is it we can buy them in seed packets? And I had no idea they closed themselves up at night and reopen when the sun hits them.... I witnessed that when I saw some growing wild at the end of our street...I bet seeing that poppy brought back some sweet memories...

R. Brady said...

O yeah. Sweet, sweet.