Posts Tagged ‘Celandine poppy’

Bang, She Was Special

Everyone called her “Bang.” Apparently she broke several bats, playing baseball when she was young. She was my Girl Scout leader through high school.

Spring wildflower hikes were one of her favorite activities. She knew exactly where certain flowers grew and when to visit them.

I got married, moved away for six years and then returned to Harrisburg. Her husband passed away during that time. They had no children.

I was a Girl Scout leader for eight years until both my girls graduated high school. By then Bang was housebound with emphysema. Friends brought her food and ran errands for her. She wouldn’t let me. I was her entertainment — I’d hike alone or with my kids, and then fill her in on all the details. She relived her experiences through mine. Many of the places were ones she’d told me about.

Her health continued to deteriorate. She wanted one more outing. It had been years since she’d hiked. My husband drove us. (I definitely wanted a man along on that trip.) We topped the hill where the road deteriorated and became an adventure. Ron stopped at the top so Bang could take in the view of the wooded hills, down across the low part, over a small bridge and start up a rugged hill.

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Bang sat on the edge of her seat. Ron drove slow so she could see everything. The woods were all leafed out. He pulled up into camp and parked the blazer facing south. Her eyes were so big. She was transported to a place of her own.

I walked off. Ron did too. I returned two or three times with a flower to show her up close. So, virtually, she was alone in nature with her thoughts. We were probably only there fifteen minutes until we had to get her home. We were seven miles from her house.

I can still see the sheer joy on her face. Those few minutes transported her into nature, and her nature “friends” came to see her.

She passed away about a month after our outing.

These were a few of her favorite wildflowers.

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 Jack-in-the-pulpit

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Celandine poppy

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Virginia bluebells

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Twayblade orchid

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Shooting stars

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Purple trilliums

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Lonely Celandine Poppy

Celandine poppy

When I looked out over my spring wildflower garden, a bright yellow stood out in the crowd — the only celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) in the whole garden. Where did the others go? I saw my mother’s garden last night, and hers was “littered” with them. My Missouri Wildflowers book says “It is a prolific seeder which succeeds well in shaded, humus-rich gardens.” So what needs changed here?

Actually the poppy can’t be too lonely with all the nodding white trilliums (left), purple trilliums (above), purple and white violets, dwarf larkspur (below left), wild geraniums (below), wild ginger,  sweet William, false rue anemone and Virginia bluebells all blooming.

I think when I work in this garden, I’ll talk kindly to the celandine poppy, pet it on its little head … and remember to scatter its seeds later.

And if all else fails, I’m sure my mother will share.