The things we forget: flowers

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flower arrangementOver the holiday break, at some point before I contracted the plague that knocked me out for two weeks, I went to a Fresh Market in Louisville and bought a bouquet of roses. They were multicolored roses, an orange that faded towards red at the edge of the petals. They were beautiful. Because of our very badly behaved cats, we can’t put flowers anywhere that is easily within their reach, but they can reside safely on the mantel in our dining room, and this is where the roses stayed until they faded away. Every time I caught a glimpse of them, it made me happy. When they were gone, I felt it like an actual loss.

I have always loved the idea of having cut flowers in the house. During the summer, I gather whatever’s blooming out of my own yard, and am often tempted to pilfer blossoms from the many beautiful gardens downtown. I increasingly gravitate towards planting flowers that can be easily cut, and I have accumulated an arsenal of bud vases and bouquet vases to scatter all around the house.

But in the deep months of winter, there are no flowers to cut. And so every year, I say wistfully to my husband, “I’d like someday to always have flowers in the house.” Spending that week drawing such joy from the vision of roses in my dining room, it occurred to me that “someday” should be now. It also occurred to me that there’s a florist literally across the street from me, and “someday” should have been years ago. Better late than never.

flower arrangementDespite various conversations about “zoning” in downtown Madison, historically, places like Madison would not have been zoned; businesses would mix with houses all over town. This still happens some, and so I wasn’t hugely surprised to find a florist shop sharing the largely residential street with me. I did wonder what kind of business they might do. Then I finally realized that it might be quite convenient for a florist to be located across the street from a church; funerals and weddings are a florist’s bread and butter.

So a few weeks ago, I headed down to my neighbors at Colonial Flowers. This is where my husband buys me bouquets from time to time, but I wanted a standing arrangement. Every other Friday, I pick up a big bouquet of mixed flowers which my neighbor puts together for me within a certain price range. The first week, my bouquet included hydrangeas, roses, lilies, irises, gerber daisies, and ornamental kale. That’s a partial list, as there were many other things I can’t quite identify, including some lovely foliage. With that bouquet, I created five different arrangements of flowers to place around the house. It was the joy of the roses multiplied many times over.

Now it’s Tuesday, and what’s left are a few lilies which will get me through until the next pick-up on Friday. As with many things in life, fresh flowers only last so long. But every other week seems about right to prevent yourself from being completely overwhelmed by the arranging of flowers.

irises and liliesIn addition to the delight of having the flowers in our house, there’s the fun that comes from going over to Colonial Flowers and picking through whatever’s come in that particular week. I’ve never seen ornamental kale in an arrangement, and my neighbor had already tested it out to see how long it would last in a vase. In other words, it’s nice to be able to buy flowers from someone who lives next door and is interested in figuring out your own particular flower preferences. It is, in all ways, the perfect arrangement. I can’t wait until Friday.

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