A few days ago Dave offered to take Nettie to the zoo for the morning, and I decided to stay home and make flower crowns. Another mom might have waited to do that when her children were home to help, but I wanted to enjoy it. So I did it by myself. I'm not even going to qualify that.
I was inspired via Instagram by a lovely friend from the Netherlands, who shared photos of her boys in their flower crowns. They were celebrating solstice. I was late to the party, as usual. Actually I just never go to parties. But, as my friend pointed out, with all my garden flowers, I would be able to make a very nice crown for Nettie. I have what I'm calling a "cutting garden" this year, which means that I have flowers that look good once they are removed from my poorly-planned, overcrowded, mess of a garden. I have been bringing in and giving away as many as I can, because they're not particularly picturesque where they are, except from just the right angle.
My beds looked good for oh, I'd say about two days, after which time a string of thunderstorms toppled, crippled, or maimed all but one of my hollyhocks, which are now also ravaged by rust or scab or some other horrifying derma-botana-logical condition which has made them so unsightly that even though they are still blooming in an amazing variety of colors, I'm very close to cutting them all back and being done with the whole thing.
My herbs are out-of-control, which is apparently the state of herbs. You either don't have them or you have scads of them and have to start pulling out everything you see. I found mint in my sweet peas yesterday that was four feet tall. I think that must be some sort of record. The Bells of Ireland, which I was so happy to see coming up on their own this spring, are lying in the most unsightly way, their stems splayed in every direction, the bells coated with mud. Cilantro has gone to seed everywhere and the poppies have popped and popped until frankly, I'm sick of their weak, bobbing heads and their petals dropping all over the place. I've pulled thousands of volunteer morning glories. Thousands. They just keep coming, winding their sneaky little tentacles around the spindly necks of my phlox and autumn clematis.
But flower crowns.
They're so romantic and whimsical, like something from a fairy-tale or a dream. Because who, in real life, has time to make a flower crown, and who, in real life, is going to wear one? Outside of a wedding or something, I really don't know. They seem so frivolous. You can only wear one once, and then the flowers shrivel up and all you can do is maybe hang it on the wall for nostalgia. And honestly, I knew there was no chance that Nettie was going to wear hers for more than a few minutes, hopefully just long enough to snap a few photos. So it's kind of a flaky way to spend your time, right?
That's how I felt about my "flower crown moment" for most of the week. A little flaky. I mean, I wanted to have fun, but most of the time I was working on the crown I was feeling guilty that I didn't go to the zoo with Nettie. And then Dave called me from the zoo to tell me that one of my very best lady-friends was at the zoo with her three little boys who are under four, and I felt a whole lot guiltier. I mean, there she was momming it up hardcore, and here I was at home in my quiet house, making a blasted flower crown.
Actually I didn't stop with Nettie's crown. Despite the guilt, I ended up being so inspired that I made a few tiny crowns for some little felted mice, (talk about frivolous), and I shared photos on Facebook and Instagram. People really liked them. Like, a lot. More than they've liked anything I've posted recently. And I'm pretty sure it was the flower crowns that people liked, not so much the mice. Strangely, not a single person complained that I was being flaky.
So I've been thinking about why a flower crown has so much appeal, what it is that we're responding to. Then I looked at the photos again and thought, "Oh, Rosanna, stop making everything so complicated. They're just pretty, that's all." And they are pretty, even beautiful. Not in a complex way. Not because of composition or lighting or design. They're just pretty flowers that will be faded tomorrow. And sometimes, that's what makes something beautiful: the transience. The impermanence. The frivolousness of something spent just for beauty's sake. That's why I garden, and why I'll try again next year, even if I only enjoy my beds for two days. I have spent so much of my adult life working toward something, and never stopping once I get there, to enjoy it. It's such a sad way to live, never celebrating, never being frivolous.
I'll be making more flower crowns, for Nettie, for felted animal friends, for myself, maybe others. And I'm going to try not to feel guilty. We don't need more guilt. We need more flower crowns, or at least flower crown moments.