Friday, December 2, 2011

Why "The Opulent Poppy"

I have always loved flowers.  When I was a girl, during one of our visits out to Michigan to see my grandparents, my grandmother, Hazel, gave me her wildflower book.  I poured over the pages and spent hours out in the gully and woods by our house finding every flower there was to discover there.
I cultivated my own little wildflower garden, going out every day to check on my little flowers.  I started with the woodland flowers that grew on my parent's property: mayflowers, trillium, ferns, bellflower, star flower, winter-berry, bunch-berry, indian pipe, and even mushrooms and mosses.   Then, my Aunt Lou gave me some Victoria magazines.  I loved the soft, romantic, pictures of ladies dressed in laces and fine white linens.  I loved the delicate and dainty tea party pictures.
Then, I read an article about Celia Thaxter and her little island garden.  I was elated to find someone else who had that same kind of passion for her flowers that I had for mine.   I had been trying watercolors for the first time and enjoyed painting the pumpkin blossoms and flowers on the pea vines in our vegetable garden...while watching the bees buzzing around and gathering pollen.
When my family decided not to do a vegetable garden anymore, I begged to keep the plot for myself.  I made four raised beds, edged with bricks form an old heap out in the woods, and started planting anything I could find in them: daisies, brown-eyed-susans, violets, etc.  The neighbor lady asked me if I would mow her lawn for her.  She had beautiful perennial beds all around her home.  I agreed to mow, but instead of money I asked her to pay me in plants.  My little garden filled up quickly and with collecting seeds from every meadow, roadside, and wood, I began quite a collection of new plants.
I was even able to start my own wild roses from the rose hips I'd collected at the beach.  I buried them in my little garden and after 3 years of sitting in the ground they sprang up and within a month looked as though they had always been there.  I loved my garden and called it The Garden of Eva.  Not a day went by when I didn't visit it, water it, weed it, cajole a plant that was languishing, or discover a new flower that had sprung up from seed.  Friends and family gave me seeds, seedlings, cuttings, and pieces of their favorite plants.  Every flower, every seed fascinated me.  The colors, the shapes - some liked sun, others liked shade, some could be planted in the Spring, some had to be planted in the Fall and go through the cold of winter before they would sprout.  I even asked Mom for a teaspoon of her bread poppy seeds once.
Those little read poppies were the happiest flowers I'd ever seen!  I loved my foxgloves, pansies and morning glories, but the brilliant red of those poppies and their delicate stems and weightless petals...now I understood what Celia Thaxter meant by "all silk and flame".
I graduated high school and worked and saved up money to go to college.  At first I thought I wanted to study photography, but after a year of that I realized that, though I enjoyed it, what I really wanted to study and to learn everything I could about, was horticulture.  I enjoyed college.  Learning about greenhouse management, landscape design, identifying herbaceous plants and woodies, arboriculture, biology, etc...
Then, I fell in love with a handsome young engineer, got married, had a family, and started a blog ; )
So, I called my blog The Opulent Poppy, because of my love for flowers and beauty.  The riches that fill my life, the simple pleasures, the joys of being loved and loving....things that can not be bought, yet have such great value, like an opulent red poppy.

14 comments:

Debi said...

This is such a lovely post! I just loved hearing about all your gardens and the significance behind the name of your blog!!

AuntLou said...

I love this story! :)

Maria said...

Beautiful post Eva! Thank you so much for sharing this tidbit :)

Maria

Margo said...

I always wondered about your blog name - it's so pretty on my tongue, and has such a pretty meaning. I enjoyed this story.

Rebecca Ann said...

I love this post Eva! I wish when I was a little girl I had spent less time watching television and more time in the garden or reading a good book. Praise God now I enjoy those things and do them more often. :)
That book is beautiful and it was fun seeing a picture of you from your college/highschool years maybe?! Glad to be able to hear the story behind the name.

In Christ,
Rebecca

What-I-Found said...

What a lovely post. I will remember this when my granddaughter is just a little older and introduce her to flowers. I hope she enjoys them as much as you have.
Thank you for sharing.

Elizabeth Novak said...

What an inspiring story. I hope my blog name half as imaginative as yours.

donaleen said...

I really enjoyed that little history. I read Celia Thaxter and visited her garden, too. I started as a vegetable gardener and then my dear friend asked me to grow some flowers so when I had some extra space in my garden, I got some seed mixes of "cut flowers"... pretty soon I was growing more flowers than vegetables. I also love poppies, especially Shirley poppies.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Here in Australia, we have some beautiful and unique plants. Cat

Rebecca said...

I'm glad to have the back story!

Marie said...

I didn't know all that about you. Nice :) your blog post was a good read. I remember your gardens some but I don't think we spent much time in it... hmmmm well I moved to VA. in 1996, age 14 maybe you weren't into gardening so much before I left.

nice :)

Eloise said...

What a lovely blog entry, I did wonder where your blog name came from, its nice knowing now :) I used to love reading Victoria magazine when I was younger. I grew up in Canada and dreamed of living in England and i've been here for 16 years now! I don't have my own flower garden yet but one day :)

AuntLou said...

I just reread this & it reminded me to tell you that I think you would enjoy my father's recollections of the remarkable talents and skills of the original owner of your book, Leslie Phinney.

Eva Girl said...

Oh yes, I've been told some about Mr. Phinney. I'll have to ask you Dad to tell me all about him sometime : )

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