September 24, 2018
My sister and I started watching an Australian comedy series the other night, titled, “Sisters.” It’s about a woman who discovers she has hundreds of brothers and sisters because her father, former head of an infertility clinic, used his own sperm to impregnate the clinic’s clientele.Suddenly, the main character, who was an only child, finds herself part of a very large family, warts and all. And, yet, she welcomes them all into her life.Biologically speaking, you don’t get to choose who sits at your dinner table, hogging the best donuts and belching the alphabet.However, when it comes to flowers, taxonomists choose which plants belong to families. The aster family (Asteraceae) is one of the largest flower families, with more than 1,620 genera and 23,600 species of herbaceous plants, shrubs, and trees distributed throughout the world. Within this big, happy family, you'll find some wonderful wildflowers, including Artemisia (sagebrush, tarragon), Blanketflower, Chamomile, Chicory, Chrysanthemum, Enchinacea, Blackeyed Susan, Dahlia, Goldenrod, Pussytoes, sunflower, Coreopsis (tickseed), Zinnia and many, many more.Looking at this selection, you'd never imagine they'd be members of a larger family. Happily, though, you can plant many of them together in one garden and they all get along just fine. No squabbling, no criticisms about who's the smartest, the prettiest, the most well-behaved. No need for a wall to separate them from other members of the family.The asters in my garden are blooming now, providing hungry bees with some nourishment before the frost sets in. I still have blanketflowers blooming as well as tickseed and tansy and the chrysanthemums are following close behind.My asters are large bushes--four feet wide and four feet tall. I've split them several times and they thrive. They'll brighten up any sunny spot in the garden. I love how these plants bloom late in the season when most of the other perennials are taking a rest.But in my garden now, at the beginning of autumn, the asters are sharing the space with the warm golden blanketflowers and tickseed. And all are welcome here.
Each of these wildflowers mentioned as part of the Asteraceae family have become subjects for my wildflower patterns and featured on pillow covers, leggings and more. Mixing different patterns together in a room is a wonderful way to bring variety and interest into your home, the way a garden should be, and also like welcoming different cultures into our communities. I'm just not a fan of monocultures.
In a world where too many countries are putting up barriers and walls to prevent people from entering, we've got to find a better solution. I know. It's complicated.
November 12, 2018
November 05, 2018
October 22, 2018