My grandmother had these silly looking old, carved monkeys that always remained in a drawer in her bedroom. I figure they were passed down from a travel abroad that some friend or relative brought back as a gift since they looked worn. They were known as the wise monkeys. They were separate which was odd since often they are joined together. Every time I would visit my grandmother, as a small child I would pull those funny looking monkeys out of her desk drawer and play with them on the floor. I would line them up sometimes in a row and just stare at them, for the carving was detailed and made them come to life.
When I outgrew playing with those wise monkeys. I still would open the drawer and pull them out, line them up and admire them for a bit and put them back in the drawer for another day. They were an old friend. The memories were what made me return.
Every year I try to grow an heirloom flower + save the seed from years past for many of these heirloom flowers are going to be lost and replaced with modern-day larger bloomed flowers.Eventually over the years my grandmother took the three wise monkeys out of the drawer and placed them on a shelf up high. When I would come to town, I would stop by and visit but I no longer had to pull them out of a drawer. They were up high on a shelf for others to admire.I do not know why those three monkeys were special to me, but they were. They were worn and loved. Wisdom was carved into the details of their faces.
I feel sometimes we need to look at our flowers as I did those wise monkeys. We need to get up close + appreciate the intricate patterns in the faces of our flower. Look at them for the first time again. Just like visiting with an old friend you have not seen in a very long time.
I have several books on heirloom flowers in my library. I was reading this week Heirloom Flowers/Vintage Flowers for Modern Gardens and every year I try to grow a new heirloom flower to trial in Palm Rae Potager. I love historical fiction so it is obvious I would love antique flowers!
” Flowers of Yesterday….The definition of how the perfect flower should appear has changed with time. Most dramatically, the height has decreased. From Tall blowsy plants that tower over their modern counterpart, ideal bloomers gradually became waist-high or shorter..In America the lawnmower’s arrival in the middle of the 19th century might of had something to do with it….trend towards dwarfing ( flowers) really took off during the Victorian era with its ribbon borders and bedding schemes…Modern varieties tend to be bred with more blossoms per stalk, and to be self-branching whereas their older counterparts were apt to shoot obstinately straight up..Colors are more intense than they were a few hundred years ago….compared to modern gardens, the heirloom bed was relatively drab. Another trait that has proliferated over the centuries is doubleness. Most heirloom flowers are single..open-face, like the single holly hock, rather than featuring a nest of many petals….” Heirloom Flowers/Vintage Flowers for Modern Gardens
I love growing heirloom flowers with their intricate details which only come to life when you get up close.I enjoy change, but I also respect familiarity. I do enjoy some of the larger bloomed modern flowers, but there is something about these vintage flowers, maybe it is their stories that draws me to them every season. I just can’t stay away!
We need to save seeds from these old, rare flowers to pass on to the next generation so they can get up close and appreciate the details in simple things…..
I read lilliput zinnias were developed in the 1870’s
Lilliput Zinnias ( I read that they were developed in the 1870’s)