Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day Memories

I grew up in a house perched on the side of a canyon near the base of a gulch on the outskirts of a small northern Idaho town. A dirt road wound past our house and up the gulch where three other houses perched similarly, then suddenly turned steep and narrow as it became a logging road that switchbacked to the top of the mountain. All around us was dense forests, an incredible playground for my brothers and me. One fond memory surrounds thoughts of Mother's Day - that of going up into the woods to pick huge bouquets of wild trilliums to present to Mom, who always acted so surprised and pleased. Heck, she acted surprised and pleased when her little girl proudly presented her with a handful of dandelions. Of course she'd love these beautiful trilliums. And I always marveled at how they knew to bloom just when we needed them for Mom.

I was thinking about this the other day while out walking, thinking how I miss seeing trilliums. Not that I haven't seen trilliums since moving to Wisconsin. They do grow here and I have seen them along side the road north of here. I just don't see them where I walk. And if I did, it would be a crime to pick any and bring them home. No really, I don't mean that figuratively. It really is against the law these days to removed wildflowers from their native habitat. Although I understand the reasoning behind this, I think it is a shame. While it may be teaching the youngsters of today a more responsible attitude towards nature (preserve and enjoy rather than selfishly destroy), I can't help think they are missing out on creating some wonderful memories of their own. I can't believe that the few flowers we brought home from Sunday drives in the country irreparably damaged the environment. There weren't hoards of us in the woods trampling and pulling up flora on a weekly basis. Perhaps it is different today, or at least in some parts of the country.

Still...if my mother were alive, I think I would sneak out and covertly gather a bouquet of trilliums and proudly present them to her. And she would gasp, smile and act like I'd spent a hundred bucks on roses for her. Mom - love you and miss you...

While searching around for a picture of trilliums, I ran across a couple of sites with information that might interest you: here's a description with pictures, and here's an aromatherapist and natural healer's take on the benefits of trilliums. My, I'm sure my mother would be surprised to learn that its essence is "effective for use during meditation, channeling or any time."


teri springer said...

Actually, it's not necessarily a crime to pick all wildflowers but it IS to pick Trillium. The reason being is so many well-meaning little girls (and big girls too) picked them not knowing that this kills the plant. The *flowers* aren't actually the flower but, like the pontsiette, the *flower* are bracts and the flowers are in the middle. Anyway, picking them kills the plant and, as a result, they became a threatened species. They are also darned near impossible to transplant. However, you now can purchase them from some nurserys for your planting and viewing pleasure at home.

And yes....wildflowers look best where Gaia put them....but you can buy cultivated varieties of many species.....


The Idaho Beauty said...

Well, Teri, as I said, I do understand why some of them need to be protected these days. Hard to believe when I remember how thickly the trillium came up year after year in spite of our gleaning.

Too much of anything, though, is not good. Maybe when I get moved and perhaps have a garden again, I'll look into the nursery variety.