OK, so this isn’t anything near an ode — but we need something special to observe the flowers of this midsummer, beautiful and thriving in all this sun, heat and extra-frequent rain — and a salute, a bow, or even a formal wave doesn’t seem enough in praise of the sturdy behavior of this year’s crop.
It’s the feeling of genuine appreciation for these particular flowers we’re after here.
So it’s warm thanks to the currently blooming flowers that surround us abundantly now that July is well underway — the zinnias, roses, daisies, black-eyed Susans, daylilies, snapdragons, dahlias, gladiolas and scores of other small, medium-sized and tall miracles (think hollyhocks and sunflowers) that surround us in our Mid-Atlantic climate.
If you’re a gardener, of course, access to flowers to cut and bring indoors for yourself and to share with others may be an everyday pleasure.
Or, if you have no in-ground garden, as I no longer have, we have our balconies, porches, entrances or other outdoor places to set up generous-sized flowerpots. My own balcony is extra crowded (think “climb over,” not “step”) with my favorite plants for this purpose — variegated colors of coleus, boasting large or medium heart-shaped leaves and plant height, with a wide range of deep burgundy to red to delicate pink hearts, all inside the characteristic bright green edges — plus the newly developed “mini coleus” with tiny leaves of the same color range. The particular joy in mine are that I can keep cutting long stems to bring in for bright bouquets all over my apartment, since the leaves are the beauty of these plants. The more you cut, the more they grow!
Some of us may also have special people in our lives who seek out wildflowers for us — and aren’t we lucky! My daughter, starting about age 4, has had the habit of seeking out wildflowers and bringing me bouquets of daisies and all sorts of blossoms picked along side roads or from her daily walks beside fields.
But, wait! Maybe you are one of many who have no particular access to fresh cut flowers — but would like some. There are farmers markets galore set up all over the city and county where you can buy bunches of fresh-cut flowers “straight from the farm” at this time of year. You can usually find one or more such markets on most days of the week somewhere in the county, as well as on the traditional weekends. There are lots of farm folk who are happy to bring you a wide range of flowers from which to choose.
And now, where to go if you would like to cut the flowers yourself, which I highly recommend: “Pick your own” flowers at Catoctin Mountain Orchard, a roadside orchard store on U.S. 15 a mile or so north of Thurmont. Owner Pat Black just told me, “We have 10 kinds of flowers this year, which we sell by the cup at $14 each. A cup holds 10 to 50 stems, depending on what flowers you choose. Recently we sold 10 cups for a wedding. We sell cups for churches regularly and other special functions.” Need a cup of fresh flowers?
Glade Link Farms on Woodsboro Pike also offers “Cut your own flowers.” (While checking this one out, I found they also provide photos of their beautiful flowers for weddings and other wedding services — in case you need wedding flowers this season.)
I hope all this encourages you to go have the fun of selecting fresh-cut flowers from county farmers this summer — if that fits into your interests. If not, there are always fresh flowers at most grocery stores year-round, for which I’m particularly grateful in January!
Ann Burnside Love writes from Frederick, where, when Dr. Robert Broadrup lived here at Homewood, during this season he brought singularly beautiful fresh roses from his specimen garden to our front desk daily for us all to enjoy — both visually and fragrantly.