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  • Betty Girardeau

Wildflowers


I am hoping to have the time today to finally start getting my planters planted and do some serious addition of flowers to my backyard garden. But this makes me think about the gardens around me that Mother Nature has already provided. Because of our wet spring, wildflowers are everywhere. Many sides of the roads in the country are festooned with daisies, especially, and some kine of blue flower that I don't recognize. I am saddened when I come upon mowing teams whose job it is to "neaten" the sides of the highways and cut these flowers down before their time. Why can't they let us enjoy them longer? The area between my yard and the pond has already been mowed, too, so now, rather than wildflowers, I see clumps of dried flora and grass. Who are these people that think mowed areas are always preferable to natural grass and wildflower areas? I guess not everyone feels the same as I do about natural spaces. In fact, if you Google "wildflowers," you find conflicting views about them. One query asks "How do I plant a wildflower garden," followed by another that wants to know how to get rid of wildflowers in their yard. I wish more people felt as Lady Bird Johnson did about the importance of wildflowers in our daily lives. She wrote, "Ugliness is so grim. A little beauty, something that is lovely, I think, can create harmony which will lessen tensions." While her husband was trying to create a "Great Society," she was out campaigning to "Beautify America." Many states at the time began to purposely plant wildflowers as well as not so wild ones along the sides and in the medians of major highways. I remember being thrilled to drive over the crest of a hill and suddenly come upon a section of road that was also a bit of a flower garden. It could not help but bring a smile to anyone's face to see something like that. Now, more than fifty years later, we seem to have forgotten about this kind of beauty. It seems to be all about mowing. And for some reason this seems to be more of an "American thing," too. As I have driven through country areas in Europe the roadways are more likely to wind through areas of natural beauty, grasses unmowed and fields of wildflowers. I do like seeing how nice my yard looks after the grass has been cut. But that is my yard. Mother Nature's yard is more appealing in its natural state I think. And I agree with Lady Bird that beauty does have the power to create harmony and lessen tensions. We could certainly do with more of that in this country these days. What would happen if we did less mowing on the sides of our interstate highways and again started planting wildflowers again?

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