Friday, June 28, 2019

Fabulous flowers: rain, rich soil yield blooming bonanza in the Beartooths

The lavender flowers of the lilac are associated with refinement, grace, elegance and grief.
Walt Whitman's poem, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" mourns the death of Lincoln.

 The poppy bloomed on much of the Western Front in World War I, and is
a symbol of remembrance in the United States, Canada and elsewhere.


Gran planted the thrift, this one "joystick red."

What's in a name?
That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
--from "Romeo and Juliet"


WHEN IT RAINS, we stay indoors and accomplish plenty:  writing, repairing, tidying,  packing for the next adventure. But when the sun's out in Montana, who can stay inside?
Nature's call is seductive, with a bonanza of blooming wonders. Housework be damned.  That can happen when it rains.
The iris has come to be a symbol of hope, valor and friendship.
When Mr. Sol shines, we answer the call.  We drink in the fresh mountain air, stroll about the yard and admire the iris, peony, poppies, lilacs, columbine, daisies, snapdragons and bluebells.
My grandmother Olive, a lifelong lover of flowers, quoted James Russell Lowell's "The Vision of Sir Launfal in this much loved poem:
"What is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days; Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune, And over it softly her warm ear lays...So is my memory thrilled and stirred...."
It's hard not to be stirred and thrilled by a day in the Beartooth Mountains of Big Sky Country. Poets and historians, travel writers and nature
The columbine are spectacular this year, 
lovers have waxed about Montana's beauty. John Steinbeck's homage is my favorite: “I'm in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love."And love it is for me.  My paternal grandfather Gustav Nystul came West in 1912, purchasing property now known as the Beartooth Ranch between Columbus and Absarokee.
He named it Sunnyside Ranch, and sunny it was.  I remember lilacs blooming through spring snow, daisies in June, snapdragons in July, a haven of hollyhocks in August.
John Lennon said "Love is the flower you’ve got to let grow” and those of us in love with Montana know that feeling. Buddha loved nature and its transformative powers: "If we could see the miracle of a single flower
Remembrance is what we think of with the poppy.
clearly our whole life would change.”
I remember my grandmother's love of the sea pink thrift, a beautiful bundle of blooms, and her affection for the poppy. For her and other Victorians, the poppy was an enduring symbol of remembrance of World War One. Winnipeg born, Gran's strong ties to Canada were lifelong. She and millions of North Americans wore poppies on Remembrance Day.
Lady Bird Johnson, championing her wonderful beautification projects said, "Where flowers bloom, so does hope."
 The iris, whose botanical name is iris xiphium, symbolizes hope. It is my favorite flower blooming this time of year. My grandmother  said it represents cherished friendship and valor. She taught us that her beloved iris is the inspiration for the fleur-de-lis, symbolizing the royal family of France.
A court jester's hat does come to mind with columbine.

 The columbine, she believed, resembles the hat of a court jester. Indeed it does.
My late sister Peny named her only daughter Amarylla, inspired by her love of the amaryllis, a brilliant symbol of pride.
The daffodils were waning when we arrived at High Chaparral, but I love that this flower indicates rebirth, new beginnings and eternal life. It also symbolizes unrequited love.
I like to think, though, that we are worthy stewards of the land and that our love for Montana is reciprocated.

Jake Shimobokuru is perhaps the most famous ukulele player.
UP NEXT: Come learn the ukulele with us, explore its rich and fascinating history and discover how much fun it is to play Hawaii's famous instrument. The trusty little wonder of a stringed instrument came to the Islands with Portuguese fishermen and has become a much loved part of the allure of Hawaii.  Most famous of its players today is Jake Shimobokuru.  Meanwhile, remember to explore, learn and live and catch us each Friday for a unique take on travel, the arts, nature, family and more.


  1. Pasadena Posey LoversJune 29, 2019 at 7:33 AM

    Very nice photos and commentary. Especially enjoyed the meanings of the various flowers.

  2. Galveston GardenerJune 29, 2019 at 7:42 AM

    Love thhe grandmother stories. What a grand lady she was, to have taught you so much on so many levels.

  3. Extraordinary part of the world you're sharing.

  4. Missouri Nature LoversJuly 1, 2019 at 5:54 AM

    Happy always in a garden. And what a splendid one you have.

  5. We look for your delightful posts, and pften make use of your wise travel tips.

  6. Norwegian CousinsJuly 2, 2019 at 3:16 PM

    Gorgeous ode to nature. Lucky you, and your many followers.

  7. Beverly Hills RoamersJuly 3, 2019 at 11:26 AM

    Fun ode to a beautiful Montana spot. We visit each year and are excited about Tippet Rise tickets.