A couple weekends ago my friend Athena invited me out to pick some of the flowers she planted this year at Harmony Farm. The farm sits up on a hill so that once you're there, it feels very isolated and lovely. There are some houses nearby, but not too close. The sky that day felt big and encompassing in a way that's somewhat rare when you live in the hills. She had grown beautiful long rows of sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos, bachelor buttons and nasturtium.
I've read a lot about self-care over the last few years, and you'd be amazed how many people recommend treating yourself with flowers. These "feel better" lists get rather cliche after a while, but then again, cliches exist for a reason. Flowers can really make a girl happy.
I've been wanting to plant cosmos in my yard for years now, and this year, I finally did. I put a bunch of seeds in front of my shed, and all summer I watched the plants grow very tall and produce nothing. Not one flower. I have a particular affinity for cosmos because growing up my sister and I planted a huge row of them every year across the front of our vegetable garden. They're so delicate and beautiful, and they bloom all summer long. It's October now, and look who finally decided to make an appearance?
This is the second year I've grown dahlias. Last year I planted bulbs, and they produced a few flowers. I dug the bulbs up in the fall and stored them in the basement all winter. (I literally just threw them in a crate. I think you're supposed to take better care and store them in sawdust. It's an evolving hobby, this gardening.) I planted the bulbs this spring, and just like the cosmos, nothing happened for months. But this fall they emerged in all their glory. And they are so amazing. The perfection of all the individual flower parts is like tiny baby toes.
There's just something so good and wholesome about growing flowers. It makes me feel like home. As another friend said to me recently about (being old and) watching birds: Free Joy!
I'll take it.