One thing I will miss about Brooklyn (sometimes) are the masses of colorful cut flowers that that spill out from buckets in front of nearly every deli, all year round.
As there is about one deli per block on a shopping street in Brooklyn, that was plenty of opportunity to be tempted by flowers. And I succumbed, nearly every week.
I took this photo just before we began packing to move out of the house. (How different this looks than the rough-hewn charm of our Wyoming home!) If there wasn’t a bouquet on this dresser in the entryway, that probably meant I was sick or away on a trip.
Every Mother’s Day in Brooklyn, I could expect a bouquet like this from my son. Being on a budget, he would always choose a selection from a nearby deli and make it into an arrangement, rather than paying for a bouquet from a high-end New York florist.
I cropped an image of another one of his Mother’s Day bouquets, and I use it for the lock screen on my laptop.
So I would still see “fresh” flowers nearly every day, but I have not bought many bouquets in Dubois. The supermarket sells a few, but they are mostly carnations and daisies — nothing varied or exotic.
The flowers in my living room look nice, but they’re artificial. This is grass and sage country, I thought. Who needs flowers?
Besides, they’re so easy to find outdoors. I saw these masses of lupine among the sage up on Union Pass last week. It’s my favorite color combination. Someday I will paint a bathroom in those colors.
Nature grows flowers by the armful here in a dazzling array of colors, but that task is beyond me. To keep flowers alive in a garden near my house would mean constant watering, carrying them inside overnight when the weather is cool, and unyielding defensive efforts in the war against deer and ground squirrels. Simply not worth the effort.
So I gasped the first time I stepped out the side door last month, after returning from our final stay in Brooklyn. Arising from my years of sheer neglect was this utterly perfect iris.
I had seen the blade-like leaves for several years and not pulled them, because they looked too elegant to be a weed. I can’t even recall when, in a burst of naive enthusiasm, I must have planted that bulb.
That wasn’t the last of the pleasant surprises. Among the new storefronts that are springing up in the middle of town, I was pleased to find the Wilderness Flower Company.
Casey is new to Dubois. She worked for a while at Western Bouquet, the flower shop far up a side street in the old part of town. I rarely patronized it because it was out of the way. To be frank, I tended to forget that it existed.
The owner retired while I was away. Casey bought the business and relocated it to a prominent spot along the boardwalk in the center of Dubois, right next to the new old-fashioned drugstore. There she holds court with her two small children over the large refrigerator and its stock of tall, proud blossoms.
I need refrain from indulging myself no longer. Why should I not have my bouquet of fresh flowers each week, just because I’ve decamped to the remote high mountain desert?
I make it a practice to buy the oldest and least attention-grabbing of the blooms.. I want to leave the showier flowers there for other customers, because I want The Wilderness Flower Company to survive.
Just like the sage, the lupine, and my lovely, lone iris.
© Lois Wingerson, 2019
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