Cultivating Friends

If you have spent any time in a garden this summer, you may have noticed some connection between the flowers you planted and the people in your life. You may even see yourself in a bloom – a rose, say!  This thought piqued our interest so much that we began to consider the personalities and even the “lifestyles” of flowers. Were they easy-come, easy-go, long-lasting, sun-lovers, or shade-dwellers? Certainly there are some we could relate to (“late bloomer” for instance) and some we could even put a name to among our friends and family – “Wallflower” anyone?

Our findings :

Rise & Shine types. There are morning types of flowers, the most common (as their name implies) being Morning Glories. They rise up, stretch out their petals, and then at some point fold up their petals for the day, cocooning themselves away as they re-energize for the next sunrise. You all know the type: they phone you at 7.00 am to ask how your day is going.

Hale & Hearty types: Strong, resilient, the stoics of the garden. They remain steadfast through most meteorological moments – heat waves, summer hail storms, everything! Good times, bad times, these are the types you want to have around, their natural cheeriness and steadfastness a dependable counter to life’s chaos!  Gayfeather, Bugleweed , Tickseed, Hellebore.

The Wanderers: You must know at least one! They come into your life and then before you know it, they have so entangled their life in yours that you may no longer feel there is any divide. However, because rambling around is their way of life, they will likely – unless “self-seeding”  – only be with you for a short time – so enjoy them while you can. Nasturtiums, Clematis, Morning glory, most of the vines!

Shade Lovers:  Not the type you want to invite to the sunny glare of the beach! Shade lovers like nothing better than to hunker down in the dappled shade of a tree with a book or lie dreamily in their own dark bed undisturbed by anything. Since they will wilt under too much limelight, allow them their shade and they’ll love you for life.  Lungwort, Hosta, Foxglove, Spurge.

The Perennials: The friend you love. Dependable as anything. Sure, disappears at times, but their annual return always welcome. You may not remember the roots of your relationship, but now s/he is a part of the circle of your life – someone you can count on the bring colour into your world. A favorite of everyone including the bees. Echinacea, Black Eye Susie’s, Daffodils, etc.

The Annual: Often just a summer friend, but always the encounters “sweet” –  just not long lasting. Someone you meet on holiday, or spend time with at the pool or playground.  By fall, the sightings less, and the friendship wilts away. You may not even have exchanged phone numbers… But sunny-day memories, yes. Petunias, Zinnias, Begonia, etc.

The Weedy Type: Nature lovers and outdoor types at heart, they tend to pop up unexpectedly in often the strangest of places – snuggled next to your kale and tomatoes, or camping (illegally) next to the highway.  While they are often delightful to be around, they are prolifically invasive -  good hangers on. Set boundaries or they will take over your life. Dandelions, Fleabane, Chicory.

The Native: Homebodies!  They thrive best in favorable habits (i.e. their own locale) but when they visit, they bring their natural good spirits with them, too.  Genial, like magnets they attract people of natural good humours  –  flirty butterfly types as well as urban busy bees. No strangers to the wild parts, these native types nevertheless happily make their h­ome in the city.  If you love nature, encourage them all you can. Yarrow, Hyssop, Meadowsweet, Nannyberry.

The Cultivated: Not wild, not weeds, but  perfectly groomed, and with all the wild genetically removed from them. Not the type to take camping, but opera perhaps? Often travel in packs in the Fall with early Spring appearances. Tulips, Daffodils. Peonies.

The Narcissists: Oh, gosh…You know the type. No reflective surface – kettle, mirror, shop window, or pool  –  misses their critical gaze.  We all have one in our wider social circle and love them regardless  –  if only because they remind us to sometimes look in the mirror and do something with our hair, too. Narcissi (of course).

Those Wild Types  Who doesn’t love the wildflower in your life? Scatter-brained, wayside loving, and thus recklessly random and unpredictable as to when or where they appear - yet full of good vibes! Their freedom-loving spirits welcome everywhere. (Just don’t expect them to turn up when or where they are meant to). Poppies, Daisies.

Thorny Types. We all know one. We love them dearly, but don’t get too close.  They may be as seductively beautiful and aromatic as a rose, or as minimal to look after as a cactus but these beauties have their own self-defence system. Prickly retorts are their thing!

The Elder Types. Not a species at all but perhaps represented in the back garden by the Twisted Hazel or old Lilac Tree standing knowingly on our back lawn… These are the older seniors in our midst. All of them appreciated for their wisdom, stories, and life experience. To be nurtured always.

All of course, are welcome in the garden of our lives, and apologies to all flowers for taking such blooming license of their beauty. However, there is no doubt that flowers, and the individuality of the “flower people” that are our friends and family bring joy, and beauty into our lives.


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