There is so much to learn from nature. It speaks, guides and moves us to think on a larger scale. But it’s language can be found in the most microscopic visions of leaves and petals. These wildflower studies are the beginning of my deeper understanding of life through the living landscape around me. Sources of knowledge, wisdom, and inspiration for what I create. The more we know about flowers of the wild, the more we can be wild like them.
I couldn’t think of a better place to start than with the long reigning beauty of summer, Queen Anne’s Lace. Her appearance is soft and sweet. Thin delicate wisps blow in the warm wind. Air is her element. Rows of light white tufts dot the lush green scenery.
A closer look reveals an architecturally striking composition. Concentric circles of flower groupings in nature’s finest fibonacci spiral. Each head can contain hundreds of flower groupings each made up of their own stems of flowers. Forming a gorgeous lacey web often dotted with bits of pink or deep purple centers.
Each little floret repeats the same gesture as the large flower taken as a whole. The micro flowers reflect the macro flower gesture. – Theresa Melia (Flower Essence Society)
She is a benchmark to the landscape that is New England, from the country fields to breaks in the city cement. And much like the architecture of this area she is a flower of contradictions. A dichotomy between roots and wings. This feature is what I find most appealing about this bloom. It’s a feature I expect to find a lot of in wildflowers. Perhaps that’s why I am drawn to them.
She is tough, and can thrive in soil that is lacking. Soil that has been disturbed by pavement, making way for commerce via once train tracks, now roads, highways, and bike paths. And making them ever more beautiful along the way. Thriving in the humid heat of the East and dry summers in the West. Making due with little water.
Along with the communion of her floral sequence she is quite the social butterfly. Basking in the sun with thistle, chicory and wild sweet pear. Sharing secrets with the bees and bugs that stop by.
Standing tall and proud, many of her branches showcase the various stages of evolution from bud to full headed bloom in a single stem. She is a living monument to her life cycle.
What I admire the most about wildflowers in their resilience. They have the ability to show off their beauty in the harshest conditions. Queen Anne’s Lace is royalty not in her hierarchy over others but her acceptance among them. The community she holds is one of friendship, kin to the nature around her but adaptive to foreign elements around her. Of our world that she has to adapt to. Nature is good at acceptance. Find a place that feels right and plant some roots. Built a community with your surroundings and flourish with them, fight with them, and shine with them.
Flowers make us feel something because we can appreciate their nature. It’s one of survival, just like ours.
What Queen Anne’s Lace does so well is feel the air despite the harsh soil, the lack of water, the closeness to danger in our environment. She feels the air because it makes her feel beautiful. Just how we roll the windows down and stick our hand out the window, to feel alive. I think they do the same, day after day, just living.
As women, as brides, we spend a lot of time doing, acting instead of being, feeling. I’ll say it again that nature has so much to teach us because it’s true. Sometimes we need to stop and let the wind hit our face and thank the universe we are here. Despite our conditions and despite our surroundings. We have so much to be grateful for and so much beauty to behold.
Legend has it that Queen Anne, the wife of King James I, was challenged by her friends to create lace as beautiful as a flower. While making the lace, she pricked her finger, and it’s said that the purple-red flower in the center of Queen Anne’s Lace represents a droplet of her blood.
Her body is not so white as
anemone petals nor so smooth—nor
so remote a thing. It is a field
of the wild carrot taking
the field by force; the grass
does not raise above it.
Here is no question of whiteness,
white as can be, with a purple mole
at the center of each flower.
Each flower is a hand’s span
of her whiteness. Wherever
his hand has lain there is
a tiny purple blemish. Each part
is a blossom under his touch
to which the fibres of her being
stem one by one, each to its end,
until the whole field is a
white desire, empty, a single stem,
a cluster, flower by flower,
a pious wish to whiteness gone over—
BY WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS
Facts and opinions based on the research of Theresa Roach Melia and the Flower Essence Society. flowersociety.org
Thank you for sharing in the first wildflower study! I look forward to sharing the stationery inspiration that comes from this beautiful flower.