Year in My Yard: Subtle Blooms
Another installment of my Year in My Yard series.
When we think about flowers the first examples that come to mind are probably the big showy flowers like roses, tulips and such. In reality, flowers come in much more subtle sizes and shapes. The flowers blooming in my yard have been equally showy even when the flower is barely a centimeter in size.
The rose is amongst the showiest flowers in any garden. They are also some of the most demanding plants one can grow. The plant demands so much attention from humans to support their enormous flowers. In a natural setting, this wasted energy would serve no advantage to the plant.
The other flowers I highlight in this post will be the other guys, the flowers we easily miss or dismiss as weeds or other undesirables. What they lack in size and color they make up for in the delicate intricacies of their humble flowers.
I found all of these flowers off in the brush beyond the confines of my “manicured” and mowed lawn. Each of them is eeking out a living in a jungle of other plants, literally battling for survival. This same battle plays out in my lawn and gardens in other forms based on the purpose we have created for those blooms.
Unlike the previous flowers, the white clover has to eek out a living in my lawn. In order to conform to societal norms and city ordinances, I have to keep my lawn mowed to some degree. The white clover has adapted to this environment and serves as a free source of nitrogen in the soil. This unique feature of clovers to fix nitrogen is why fertilizer companies have marketed clover as a weed. (Why would they want the competition right?) Needless to say, I have a lot of clover in my yard and my lawn is greener because of it
The raspberry and asparagus represent two different examples of subtle flowers in my garden. The size of the flower illustrated how we use the plants as humans. The raspberry has larger bloom because we are consuming the product of the flower, the berry. Conversely, we eat the new shoots of the asparagus. Because we eat the shoots and not the fruits the asparagus flowers retain the small size of their wild ancestors.
As summer progresses keep an eye out for those little flowers that may otherwise go unnoticed. Take a moment to appreciate their simple beauty in subtle places.