Flower literacy slowly returning

It's like riding a bike - the language of flowers is slowing returning after years of ignoring it.

I have great admiration for serious gardeners: people who grow their own seedlings, discuss pH levels, and can tell the difference between a Harmony and a Bee Imp marigold at 10 feet. Their gardens are immaculate, they take edging very seriously, and their lawns could double as fairways.

I am not one of these gardeners. I’m doing well if I manage to keep a poinsettia alive until New Year’s Day, and the less said about the garden, the better. Two weeks ago, however, I set out to tackle the wilderness that was our front yard. We don’t have a flamethrower, and I suspect that bylaws don’t allow the use of napalm within village limits, so it was on with the gardening gloves (once I found them) and out with the weed spike (after buying a new one, the old one having gone AWOL).

It took two days, and the help of other family members (good thing I bought two spikes), but I finally got the yard looking tidy once more. Something was missing, however, so off for flowers I went. It’s been a long time since I bought plants, and at first it was rather like re-learning a language I once knew (“I bought these flowers once – yellow – no, not marigolds – kind of papery . . .”). After a time, though, it started coming back to me, and I rolled the no-longer-forgotten names around my tongue. Calendula. Gazania. Lobelia. Bacopa. Calibrachoa. And of course old favourites such as petunias, marigolds, violas, and pansies, glowing like jewels.

In 1872 my great-uncle, George Munro Grant, passed through the area while accompanying Sir Sandford Fleming on his surveying trip across Canada, and wrote of their travels in the book Ocean to Ocean (1873). The area around Ashcroft and Cache Creek, he said, was “no more a desert than are the rich valleys of California. Like them, it will grow anything, if irrigated.” Despite my lack of a green thumb, I’ll try to prove Uncle George right. And who knows? By the end of the summer I might be able to tell the difference between Harmony and Bee Imp marigolds myself.

Barbara Roden is a Guest Editorialist for this week’s Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal.

Just Posted

Aerial view of a wildfire at 16 Mile, 11 kilometres northwest of Cache Creek, that started on the afternoon of June 15. (Photo credit: BC Wildfire Service)
Wildfire at 16 Mile now being held

Wildfire started on the afternoon of June 15 at 16 Mile, east of Highway 97

The Desert Daze Music Festival is doggone good fun, as shown in this photo from the 2019 festival, and it will be back in Spences Bridge this September. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
‘Best Little Fest in the West’ returning to Spences Bridge

Belated 10th anniversary Desert Daze festival going ahead with music, vendors, workshops, and more

Internet speed graphic, no date. Photo credit: Pixabay
Study asks for public input to show actual Internet speeds in BC communities

Federal maps showing Internet speeds might be inflated, so communities lose out on faster Internet

Fireworks are among the things now banned throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre, as the weather heats up and a dry summer looms. (Photo credit: Black Press files)
Category 2 and 3 open fires, fireworks now banned in Kamloops Fire Centre

Ban on certain types of fires and fire activities in place until Oct. 15

Cache Creek Village office, date unknown. (Photo credit: Wendy Coomber)
Cache Creek eyes water conservation bylaw as usage increases

Water bylaw was considered in 2019 but did not move forward

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Most Read