In the Country Guide, she described it with such pleasure you almost imagine her listening to the chickadees and watching the gold finches and humming birds.
She was given a patch of that garden when she was small, and ordered a packet of wildflower seeds – with disappointing results. She realized she needed to collect her own seeds, and carried a shovel so she could gently lift bulbs and roots from the wilds. It was important for her to notice where plants grew so she could find a suitable place in her own yard.
When he was able, she and her father worked the yard together. Later she tried to hire someone to help, but without mercy he hoed all the wild “weeds”. Her comment was “I never found a gardner who could remember the shape of the leaf of a wild flower.”
She talked about those plants as if they were special children. “A few of the plants in my garden from which I get pleasure no one else has noticed. The wild onion that comes up every year has missed the weeder’s hoe, the blue-eyed grass that grows in a dry corner where no one thinks to look and the ground cedar that hugs the foundation on the windward side has missed the lawn mower. The matricaria peeks in at the back gate where no one thinks to weed.”
These wild things that love to seed themselves are wanderers who find their place to grow. It was always easier to sketch and paint in the yard rather than on a field trip.
She loved their surprises. “Some bulbs lay dormant so long” she almost forgot about them. Then they came of their own accord. “My showy zygadene can be counted on to bloom every spring … but the blue camas produces masses of blossoms one spring, then practically vanishes until I am sure it has gone, when it suddenly reappears with all its original vigour …” Delighted! Delightful!