Wednesday, February 6, 2013

For the love of...fields of flowers

I have always loved flowers. And not in a slight 'oh yes, flowers are nice' way; in an overwhelming all-consuming sensory overload kind of way.
Where I grew up in the inner Sydney suburb of Marrickville, our 1/4 acre block was filled with all manner of simple, uncultivated flowers. I can remember the small waxy buttercups near the back door, the happy brights of the nasturtiums curled up the stone steps, the throbbing blue of the morning glory vine, the great purple clusters of bougainvillaea, the heritage five petal crimson roses which climbed haphazardly, clinging to the wall of the shed. These simple flowers were gathered into posies and scattered gleefully around the house.

Cheerful nasturtiums trailing the curb.
My brother and I in the vegetable patch, 1986
I was always trying - and very unsuccessfully mind you - to create some kind of field of flowers in the top left hand corner of the property, behind the mulberry tree. This rather barren part of the backyard was invariably choked with blackberry vines and curls of bracken, but I dug up a large proportion of it with my brother and tried to create something more colourful. Whilst we did find a great wealth of tiny glass bottles I now use for vases, the bracken always won out in the end.

Wild Forget-Me-Nots, in NY state. Stunning!

Traditionally cultivated varieties hold very little interest for me. I'm not particularly fond of gerberas, long stem roses (boring!) or long stem anything for that matter. I'm completely head-over-heels in love with the abandonment of wild flowers fluttering across a landscape.

Once when traveling in the Blue Mountains during winter many years ago we happened upon an abandoned wooden house surrounded by a field of jonquils. We hopped over the fence and I had no qualms at all ruining a pair of shoes getting through a muddy ditch to gather armfuls of this deliciously scented stuff. 

Drifts of Daffodils. Photo: Erin Glasener
When I think about traveling, my mind quickly jumps ahead to 'oooh, what flowers will I get to see?'. In New Zealand I was completely smitten with the Lupins. There is certainly no shortage of them over there, and yet each time we saw their multi-coloured heads bobbing around on the side of the road, I would exclaim with glee! We saw a glacier, trees bent over backwards from the wind, eerily blue lakes, and vistas that take your breath away, but the thing I remember most vividly was seeing those wild lupins everywhere.

Early morning Lupins!

Near Rarangi in Marlborough, a delightful seaside yellow variety.

Roadside Lupins. Never got tired of them! (Above 3 taken with a Holga, slide film, cross processed)

I still have a few floral fantasies that I must experience now the Lupins are out of the way:
One is to traipse - yes, traipse - through a field of bluebells. And I will almost definitely feel the need to lie down in them. That delicious silvery blue carpeting the floor beneath a canopy of soft green trees...
Bluebells!! Photo: Busy Nothings
Fanny Brawne knows what I'm talking about. Photo: a still from Bright Star 2009

The other revolves around striding through a field of wheat and poppies in Italy. Fans of the genre will immediately skip in their memories to that infamous scene in 'A Room with a View' where Lucy and George steal a kiss in the Italian countryside. 

Lucy approaching the lustful George in the 1985 film.
Red corn poppies dotted through a wheat field
There is something undeniably romantic about wild flowers; their recklessness, the all-consuming scale of quantity, the bright spark of colour and texture.

Native Flannel flowers en masse. Photo: Lilly Pilly
We had not been together long when my beau picked me up from the airport with a freshly picked bunch of flannel flowers he had gathered for me on his way into town. The epitome of romance.



  1. oh Rabia!
    wild flowers make me swoon too...
    My Aunt has wild poppies growing all 'round her farm and loads of lavender and sweet scented mock orange and the most gorgeous tangle of miniature roses almost suffocating the shed. This is were i go to get my romantic-floral-bright-star-poetic -swooning time.

    such a gorgeous collection of images, very lovely, Thanks! xo

  2. Alex, this sounds quite divine! I had forgotten about mock amazing. There really is nothing more swoon worthy is there?!