Many years ago when my children were in 4H I decided to participate in the Worchester County Fair (we lived in Maryland at the time) by entering a wildflower collection. I don't remember how many examples I needed to have an entry but I do remember exceeding that number by far. I only say that to say this... My husband wanted me to be done with the project sooner than I wanted to be done with it!
We drove so many back roads that year. He didn't mind that part. He just didn't like driving 5 mph and having me screech "STOOOOOOP!" whenever I'd see a specimen that I didn't already have. I jest! He really was a good sport about the whole thing.
That wildflower collection really was fun to do... Everything from building my own flower press to uncovering hard to find information (one flower even stumped the weed guy at the extension office) to assembling the book and winning 1st prize AND Division Champion.
My title page contained the verse Matthew 6:28-29 "...Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." How true! So many of these wildflowers are considered weeds, but have you ever noticed how beautiful they really are? Yes, some of them are invasive, I know, but just take a minute to examine them more closely. How delicate and intricate! How diverse!
One thing I learned by doing that project is to notice beauty beyond the obvious. Sure, heavily cultivated and hybridized flowers can be stunning but the less showy flowers of "weeds" have a simple elegance to them that is inviting to me.
Fall is an excellent time to roam among the weeds... cooler temperatures and fewer bugs! This morning my ever patient husband went on a short walk with me to gather some of these fleeting beauties to share with you. Some of my pictures didn't turn out very well (I've GOT to learn how to use my camera!).
I want to start my pictures with this product that I found at the Dollar Tree. It is a collapsible vase and waterbeads. I saw it in the store yesterday and thought "Why not?" I don't particularly like the color of the beads (looks like algae to me!) but I love the idea. It would be the perfect thing to carry a small bouquet of flowers to a friend. I often use disposable containers when taking a meal to someone so that they don't have to worry about returning dishes, so why not a disposable vase?
The waterbeads are tiny! I put them in the water before I left for my walk and they were almost fully expanded by the time I got home.
Two pretty little flowers along my path.
Most wildflowers fade quickly after being cut so they don't do well in arrangements, but that doesn't keep me from trying on occasion! This is what I brought home.
This is the arrangement I made. Notice that there are some dried Queen Anne's Lace stems from last year. I thought they added good height and texture.
Most of the flowers were wilted by evening but that is okay. I'll take out the worst ones and allow the others to stay with me until they, too, fade. So put on your walking shoes, grab your camera and a heavy pair of scissors and head out for a ramble in the brambles!