Dirty Girl & Flower Power

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I’m a bit of a dirty girl.

Ah hem.

Not that kind of dirty. Three pigs fell in the mud punch line kind of dirty.

Growing up I loved dirt. I know this because every memory and picture of me as a child I am covered in a thick layer of it. I don’t remember a single bath as a kid where the water wasn’t murky and dark afterward. I thought that’s the way baths went. Didn’t everyone’s bath water turn to sludge?

Dirt meant mud pie building, ant hill dissecting and play house constructing (forget any notion of an actual playhouse build of wood with a gingerbread motif. Oh no, my sister and I carved out blank spaces between groves of trees and designated it our play house. In my mind’s eye it was a mansion built for royalty!) I vividly recall one entire July afternoon carving an actual stairway into the side of a ditch for our playhouse entrance. Yes indeed, that kind of dirt was the best. The dirt of creation, imagination and adventure. That dirt I could do all day long.

Happy Dirt
I am 5 years old in this picture. My parents were moving an old house onto a new foundation in the middle of a field adjacent to the farm my dad grew up on and I am apparently quite excited about the adventure – and all the dirt involved in the process. The happiness on my face says it all. (And yes, I loved Cookie Monster. He’s still my favorite!)
However, the one kind of dirt I vividly remember wanting nothing to do with: garden dirt. My mom’s garden was so massive that hearing the order “go weed a row of beans” filled me with dread. I would drag myself to the garden with as much enthusiasm as a death row inmate heading to the electric chair. The sun was hot and unyielding, the weeds thick and stubborn. I vowed that when I grew up I would never have a garden. Never ever. It was clearly a torturous pastime designed to ruin perfectly good summer afternoons.

And now I’m all grown up. And dirt still calls to me like a siren on the sea. I look for every chance I can to get out in it. Even weeding now holds a level of magic that evaded me as a child.

For every new North Dakota summer my flower obsession gives me an excuse to be that farm kid again and play in the dirt.  English poet, Alfred Austin, wrote, “The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature to nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.”

I feel that. The feeding of my soul when I sink my hands into the soil.

And so here’s a little glimpse into the beginning of the sunny season, the first fruits of my soil obsession and the power of flowers in home design. I not only nurture the recurring color of perennials in my flower gardens (more pictures to follow in future posts as the vibrant explosion is just now beginning) but am obsessed with annuals in rustic buckets on the front steps, vintage pitchers filled to the brim with spring’s first blossoms, and the aroma of lilacs wafting on the breeze.

I highly recommend you convene with Mother Nature as often as possible and sprinkle her treasures throughout your home. Even a bouquet from the grocery store is a little jewel that feeds the soul if your circumstances aren’t conducive to growing your own at this time in your life. (But just make sure you get to a park often and put your toes in the grass!)

Get some flower power however you can. Stay dirty. And feed your soul.

FrontStepsImpatiens

Sunny FlowersWaterPumpGarden GateFuschia

Design Tip

If you use a container not originally meant for flowers (such as the vintage metal buckets I use) – make sure to use a nail and pound in plenty of drainage holes before planting your flowers in them. If you don’t, the plants will drown. (Cowboy to the rescue there for me!)

Design Tip

Our growing season is so short in North Dakota that for my pots I buy hanging basket arrangements and then transplant them. Pots are instantly full and overflowing! This can be a pricey option so if this is out of reach for your budget (as many hanging baskets are $30+), make sure to add Miracle Grow to your pots weekly – by July your flowers will be huge. (Cowboy has learned that I require a load of cash every spring for my flower obsession. In exchange, he goes fishing a lot. It works out well!)

Design Tip

Choose lighter shades for flowers that will be viewed from afar (the front of your home for example – the curb appeal from the street is higher if the flowers are lighter in shade) and darker shades for flowers that you are displaying up close (on your patio or deck, for example, where you and your guests will be in closer proximity to the flowers).

Happy flowering!

Peace, Joy & Blessings, 

~Audra

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