Pick flowers, not favorites

Flowers often evoke a wide variety of emotions and memories. The smell of a lilac can bring back memories of Grandma’s garden. The yellow petals of black-eyed Susans may cause us to reflect on summers past. The sound of leaves blowing in the fall, may remind of us the hours we spent raking them. Moss Roses will always hold a very a very special place in my heart. They remind me of the raised flowerbed that my stepfather and I planted each year.

Which flower, shrub or tree is your favorite? Why does it have a special place in your heart? I would love to hear your responses. Please consider emailing them to Kathleen@thegrowingscene.com Your response may be used in an upcoming column.

I recently asked my daughter Sarah what flower was her favorite. Here is her response:

“On every survey or Meet & Greet I’ve been a part of, the optimal word is favorite. What’s your favorite color? Sport? Season? Book? As someone who loves to dabble in a wide variety of hobbies and such, I’m momentarily stunned by this question as I race to find an answer that both satisfies one aspect of my personality without dampening another. Favorite color? Blue. Sport? Soccer. Season? Fall. Book? I can never choose. That’s the problem with favorites — once you get close to something personal and important, or something that has a profound impact on your perspective, it’s impossible to objectively choose why it has a specific quality that makes it inherently better. When I think of my favorite plants, I’m thrust into memories of watching each one in my yard grow, while my mom names them off for me. I would always take daffodils into school for teachers in the spring, my favorite way of showing appreciation. When it got warmer, I would venture into the throngs of coneflowers to put into a vase, my favorite decoration. And if I was outside with our dog or one of my siblings, there was no way to resist the aroma of lilac bushes surrounding the back of our yard. My point is, if you name something as a favorite, there isn’t always an explanation that makes sense to other people. I suppose they could rationalize their favorites against mine – and who am I to argue? Their memories of receiving a single rose one morning could alter their favorite forever. Their sense of smell could differ violently from mine, portraying even the most putrid petal as divine. So when you are ever asked about a favorite flower, and I hope this opportunity comes, don’t try to single one out by focusing on a particular memory. Pick a plant and try to prove to yourself why that should be someone’s favorite. This way, you positively build a favorite instead of tearing down a house to find that one brick. Start with a new brick, and build more memories about it from the beginning. Now, as I look into my yard and into the different flowers that have grown with me through the years, I can see why each one should be my favorite. That’s how I’m figuring out which ones to plant in my own yard one day; I know which flowers I want to see my children learn to walk among.”

Sarah Carr, age 17.

Remember, please email me your favorite flower and why it is special to you. I would love to hear your stories.

Kathleen Carr is the owner of The Growing Scene, Inc., a garden center and landscaping company. She can be reached by calling 815-923-7322 or Kathleen@thegrowingscene.com Have a gardening question? Please contact her. She may address it in an upcoming column.

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