In my late teens and well into my twenties I loved to pick wildflower bouquets. Noticing a field with daisies, or black-eyed Susans, or yarrow or asters, I would stop my car or my bike and wade into the tall grasses and flowers. I sometimes thought about the people who owned the fields where I picked flowers, but I was living mostly in the country, and there were pastures everywhere, often no where near a house, and I couldn’t imagine any one would mind me taking home a free bouquet. When Eric and I got married, our bouquets were made with wildflowers.
In June, 1981, Eric and our good friend Anne and I bought the house where I still live. The house is surrounded by fields and hay meadows and pastures. The day we moved in I walked into the small field on the south side of the house and looked at the flowers — daisies, vetch, clover, Indian paintbrushes, wild multiflora roses. They were all blooming among the tall grasses with their full seed heads, nodding back and forth in the wind. I sat down in the field, happy and overcome with the thought that I now had my own wildflowers to pick. It felt remarkable that I didn’t have to stop at the side of the road any more and pick someone else’s flowers.
Since then I’ve mostly created bouquets for my house from the flowers I grow in my garden — columbine and iris early in the season, then peonies and on to salvia and zinnias and cosmos and rudbekia. But I still love a field in June, with its wild array of ever-changing flowers and its splashes of color — all, in many senses, for free.