Stargazers. (And a couple things my mom taught me.)
Last week I decided I couldn’t wait any longer for blooms to appear. The snow has finally melted (!) but the trees in Saskatoon are dry and brown. I’ve been craving green, growth, and colour…
So I gave my cousin Heather my debit card on her run to the grocery store, and asked her to pick up some fresh flowers I could bring home. She chose these stargazer lilies. (They were starting to yellow a little by the time I took this pic, but aren’t they gorgeous? And their scent is seriously amazing.)
I always think of my mom when I’m arranging flowers in a vase, because she taught me two things:
1. Cut the stems on an angle (this helps them take in more water)
2. Make the height of the flowers about double the height of the vase (for good vase-to-bouquet proportions)
I’ve never known anyone who gets as excited about flowers as my mom. She can talk about the colour, the shape, and the scent of a blossom endlessly. She paints watercolour flowers on cards and gives them to people, gives them to me, writes messages of love inside, in handwriting that has grown small, the letters squeezed together in long lopsided lines.
She has a tremor in her hands now, which affects her handwriting, but doesn’t stop her from painting, from pouring hot water from the pot to make her cup of chai tea, from turning the orchid on her coffee table so it faces the sun.
Her hands shake but they are still her hands, the same ones that carried pieces of driftwood off the beach when I was a girl and placed them in our small yard to hold baskets of pansies, of blue hydrangeas. Her garden is on the windowsill now, a row of cactuses catching the light where she keeps the blinds open until the last possible moment of the day, not wanting her plants to miss a single beam.
What about you–is there anything you do that always reminds you of your mom? Of something she taught you? I’d love to hear about it.
p.s.–Did you know that the stargazer lily is a hybrid flower, created in 1978? Apparently a California plant breeder named Leslie Woodruff is the genius who developed it– a cross between an Asiatic lily and an Oriental lily. Because the flower buds opened towards the sky, Woodruff named the hybrid “Stargazer.” Isn’t that cool? I love finding out how things got their names.
Also–a coffee-table book for flower lovers.