Wildflowers and Sculptures In Bloom

– Posted in: Garden Plants

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I became aware of the allure of wildflowers several years ago when driving at 65 m.p.h. on the expressway in Philadelphia and suddenly seeing a grove of red poppies in the median strips. I quickly pulled the car over to the side of the road where I gazed at them in disbelief, longing to bring some of them home with me. In that instant, I became an ardent lover of wildflowers and to this day dream of nothing more wonderful than living on a huge piece of land and looking out onto an expansive wildflower meadow.

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Several years ago when I apprenticed with Jock Christie at Sir John Thouron’s garden, Doe Run, I observed how the meadow was sown in late fall and again in spring before the glorious blooms of Jock’s ever changing collection of poppies, cornflowers, Queen Anne’s Lace and too many other specimens to mention, seemed to burst open overnight, around Memorial Day.  By July 4th, in the Brandywine Valley, the meadow was all but over.  Yet, all of the work to maintain the meadow was worth it in order to see this blaze of color for a couple of months in spring/early summer. A little side note, my initial desire to see Doe Run was due to a cover of a magazine (House and Gardens, I think) which had a photo of Doe Run’s sumptuous field of red poppies and white daisies on it.

wildflower-meadow-3-resized-40209Cut to Israel when in late March someone mentioned to me that I should go north to see the wildflowers in bloom because by mid-April the peak of the season would be over. These photos are pictures of a meadow, that is literally abutting a busy highway leading into Tel Aviv. Juxtapositioned on the other side of the meadow, where the terrain becomes a bit more steep, are some winding, sandy paths leading to the Mediterranean.

The waves of purple and yellow flowers remind me of an Impressionistic painting. The flowers and grasses undulate through this piece of land as if they had been here for centuries. 

wildflower-meadows-poppies-in-center-ofagaves-resized-not-compressedMy eye landed on these poppies nestled in a spot between some old, towering yuccas. It reminded me of both the power and paradox of nature, very Tao like:   the old and new, permanence and impermanence and same and different.

sculpture-2-revised-fire-made-from-sticksAnd as if the natural landscape wasn’t enough of a visual feast,  a few minutes after I started walking through the meadows, I came upon these sculptures. Sometimes when visiting a sculpture garden, I feel that the sculptures meld beautifully into the landscape, leaving an indelible imprint on my psyche. Yet, there are other times where I walk away feeling like the sculptures have imposed themselves on the landscape: similar to adding more plant material to a garden, when in fact, the garden would have been better off without it. 

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Talk about the melding of two artistic mediums! The sculptures speak for themselves. Each of them was made from elements of the earth.

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Whoever thought that sand ‘breasts’ surrounded by wildflowers could look so ‘right’?

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What do you make of this particular sculpture: the bottom half of a torso erupting from the broken end of a large branch? 

And for all of you who thought that you needed a large piece of land to sow wildflowers, take heart! Here’s a great story about one woman’s successful efforts to turn Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn into a meadowflower heaven! It’s worth a read: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/12/nyregion/12flowers.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

Fran Sorin

Fran’s book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, now considered a classic, was groundbreaking when published as no one had written about gardening in the context of creativity, spirituality, and transformation.

In addition to being a recognized garden expert and deep ecologist, Fran is a broadcaster, journalist, Ordained Interfaith Minister, and Soul Tender.

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Fran Sorin

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Comments on this entry are closed.

Les April 17, 2009, 7:22 am

I guess it would be appropriate to see a burning bush in Israel, even if it was from a sculptural campfire.

Les-
I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for chiming in. Fran

Debra Lee Baldwin April 17, 2009, 11:12 am

I wonder if the wildflowers in the field in Israel are indigenous or introduced. Right now any undeveloped acre here in Southern CA is filled with wild mustard, which is pretty (billowing yellow) but definitely a non-native, invasive pest. You have to go deep into the backcountry to see valleys carpeted with purple lupines and orange poppies.

Debra-
Your point is well taken. And because I’m not familiar with Israel’s indigenous flora, I am dependent on the few English websites I have found to help me begin to decipher native plant material. Here’s a link to one that I have begun using: http://www.wildflowers.co.il/english/

Yesterday, when traveling from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, huge pinkish/purple hollyhocks appeared in fields all over the place….magnificent. Native? Am not yet sure. But still beautiful! Fran

Israel looks in the spring.

Shirl April 17, 2009, 6:55 pm

Well Fran, the wildflower meadows did catch my attention. I never thought of Israel with wild flower meadows. I will now. The sculptures? They also caught my attention too, but I can’t say I liked them though. However, that is Art and, as it should, it made me think about what I was seeing and the context of where it was.

Ah… space for wildlflowers. Perhaps it’s more a case of do you want them to run wild and how much space will you give them ;-)

Shirl,
Thanks for your comments. Your thoughts on art….agreed….as long as I have some reaction to it, positive or negative, it’s arousing some emotion in me.

Space for wildflowers? In my next lifetime, I might be tempted to let them take over all controlled areas with great abandon. But who knows?? Fran

Gail April 18, 2009, 2:59 pm

Fran, I hear you….looking out on a wildflower meadow with a beautiful blue sky would be delightful…I posted quite a while back on a meadow here in Nashville with topiary buffalo. Beautiful…with towering sunflowers and magnificent sky. The buffalo were actually excellently done. The Burning Bush is wonderfully clever. Not so much the sand breasts! Just my opinion! gail

Gail-
First, please send the link for the post you did on the meadow in Nashville so readers who didn’t get to it the first time around can do so now. I agree with you about the Burning Bush. Sand breasts? What can I say except that this is the beauty of art. It allows each of us to have an emotional response..which is the purpose of art.

BTW, one of the most beautiful meadows I ever saw was in Wisconsin (County Door?) several years ago. It was a prairie with a plethora of what appeared to be native wildflowers. Fran

Shady Gardener April 18, 2009, 9:45 pm

I also thought the burning bush was clever, and I had a laugh when I saw your last photo. Is the tree vacuuming (cleaning)? Or could it be that it’s just hungry? Looks like a Far Side Cartoon. ha.

Shady Gardener-
You gave me a good laugh when I read your thoughts about the last photo. Vacuuming is good but hungry is an even better visual for me. Fran

Abraham Lincoln April 20, 2009, 9:29 am

Try as they might, Ohio has never quite mastered the art of planting flower seed. They have done it for a long time but the results are beautiful Canadian Thistle groves and nothing like Lady Bird Johnson’s flowers.

I really like your blog.

Abraham-
Thanks for your kind words. As a native of Ohio (Cleveland), I take no offense with your words. And yes, Lady Bird Johnson certainly left the world a more beautiful place because of her work. You’ve got to come visit the Pennsylvania Turnpike and highways in late spring to see the poppies and cornflowers in full bloom. Sigh….it is just too beautiful to put into words. Fran

Shady Gardener April 24, 2009, 1:39 pm

Back again. Have you a meme 0n “Wildflowers on your property?” I’ve just posted. :-) http://yardisgreen.blogspot.com/2009/04/native-plants-in-my-home-environment.html