A bouquet of flowers centered on the kitchen table from spring through fall is as clear an indication of which month we are in as is any other sign of the season. And when it ends, I pray that one of my pink, purple or white African violets has decided to blossom.

The live, homegrown bouquets generally begin in late March with a cheery, bright yellow bouquet of daffodils or jonquils. Sometimes, I pick a few crocus blossoms to begin the year, or miniature grape hyacinths. And sometimes, a couple of the previous year’s, self-seeded pansies have decided that they are ready to show off their beauty, right alongside small clusters of purple violets.

One Christmas, a few lovely purple pansies blossomed in my little stone-rimmed flower garden in front of the house. Very little snow had fallen by then, so the pansies were able to blossom. Such a blessed treat.

Although many of us don’t particularly like dandelions, which means lions’ tooth, the bright yellow blossoms are among the sweetest smelling of all wildflowers. When we were children, chances are the first flower bouquet we presented to our mothers were dandelions. And even when the dandelion’s yellow blossoms turn into balls of white fluff and seed, they are beautiful.

In late May, the most fragrant, in my opinion, of all flowers – the lilac – makes its majestic appearance in beauty and fragrance.

As spring turns into summer, delicate, shiny yellow buttercups appear, followed soon by my favorite of all flowers – wild or cultivated – daisies appear.

At about the same time, the purple or white clover blossoms bloom, along with with any number of other wild flowers, both known (by me) to unknown (also by me), appear.

I try to learn the names of as many wildflowers as I can, but there are just so many.

Like the bell-shaped, tiny jewel weed, the purplish Joe Pye plant, the water-loving purple pickel weed, and the delicate daisy fleabane.

Almost all of them, if there are enough so that I don’t decimate a particular species, becomes a featured variety for perking up the kitchen.

The one exception, although beautiful, are trilliums. We called the purple ones “stinking Benjamins” when we were children. Who the namesake was, I have no idea but I’d like to learn.

Although I realize that cultivated or flower shop flowers are showier and many times more colorful than most wildflowers, there’s something special about picking and displaying the gift of wild flowers from the backyard, field, or sides of roads.

As summer progresses, Halloween-themed black-eyed Susans grow in clusters around the edges of the house, garden shed, or garage. And of course, the numerous orange day lilies that tend to invade almost anywhere.

We know the warm season is nearing an end when the delicate Queen Anne’s lace with the tiny purple dot almost buried in the center of the flower, and white yarrow show themselves.

Let’s not forget the gentle purple and sweet-smelling milkweed blossoms, so much favored by the rapidly diminishing Monarch butterflies.

Along the way are what my grandfather called “Lady’s Tobacco,” a humble, short white flower, tiny and delicate bluets, and sometimes, the petaled, white forget-me-nots or May flowers.

If we are fortunate, we may find a jack-in-the-pulpit or a lady’s slipper. Among the showiest are what some consider nuisances, the golden rod. When these spiked golden yellow flowers appear, we know that summer is certainly nearing its end.

So many more blossoms appear in the yard, the fields, on trees, along the sides of roads. Each has its purpose, and, I suppose, each has its fans.

Eileen M. Adams may be reached at [email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.