A Closer Look

I’ve recently discovered the joy of flower arrangements small enough to fit in the clutter of my desk. A gift of an ikebana vase encouraged me to assemble pink and yellow snapdragons past their prime for the drama of a large vase, but fine in this setting. Since the petite vase is inches away, I see more details. To the right of the fading yellow flower are hopeful buds trying—as nature always does—to assert itself and establish another generation.

The blue ageratum, so short that it’s usually overlooked for most bouquets, holds its own here. Its exuberant fuzzy mop has lasted for days, and more buds are opening.

 I’ve never noticed the sweet florets of the white loosestrife behind the green spear of its leaf. More often I’ve meditated on its name—loosestrife. Loose strife? I inherited this unruly perennial with the house, and it certainly has loosed strife in my garden, mobbing and obscuring several large peonies. Yearly, I root it out, but it comes back. Up close, it’s so dainty, it almost seems innocent in its mute insistence.

And hosta, a determined survivor. Neither polar vortexes nor voracious bunnies can kill it, though sometimes I wish one of them would. In the yard, it seems so ordinary, but close-up, I’m struck by how graceful its cream and green leaves are and the way they mimic the loosestrife’s curve.

This miniature holds the persistence of strife loosed in the world but it’s outweighed by enduring delicacy, grace, and beauty. In that I find hope.

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13 thoughts on “A Closer Look

  1. You’ve inspired me to add a bouquet of flowers to the mess on my desk! It might also be inspiration to clean up my desk! Lovely flowers, beautiful bouquet!

  2. I have a vase like that but didn’t know what it was called. And now I’ll have fun making tiny arrangements. Here we have purple loosestrife which is an invasive plant that sounds like a version of what you have. It is very pretty.

  3. Do I recall correctly that Cathy M’s mom practiced the art of ikebana? In any case, I loved your essay, which prompted me to spend an few overdue moments in my backyard, paying attention to the flowers now in bloom.

  4. Very sweet arrangement, Ellen. Small vases are perfect for desks. I like having flowers close by where I can see the details close up and sniff any sweet scent there may be (sweet peas are to my left right now – ahhh!). Nature has the power to renew us!

      • I highly recommend them! Fyi, they need to go in the ground as soon as the soil can be worked (prior to the last frost as they need cold to germinate). My first crop, many years ago, I planted too late & didn’t do well because they hit the heat of summer before blossom set. They love it cool, although new hybrids are more heat tolerant. Plant lots so you’ll have many posies. 🙂

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