13 April 2006
A few years ago, around the time when I first planted my perennial garden, I received several unusual flowers as a thank you gift for a donation made to our public television station. Of all the flowers that arrived in that box, the one that intrigued me the most was this one: the pasque flower. That first spring, I poked it in the ground and it did nothing. Drooped. Looked sad. I wondered if it would make it through the hot summer and bitterly cold winter that followed.
But the next spring, and every spring since then, this is what greets me one morning, always by surprise. Long before anything else is greening up, the soft and silky leaves and buds of the pasque flower emerge. In a day or two, purple blooms appear, opening in the morning, and gently closing as evening falls. By late spring, the blooms have faded, but fasinating, spiky brown skeleton flowers remain, far too delicate and interesting to prune.
This flower is named pasque flower because it blooms around Easter time. "Paques" means Easter in French. I find it fitting that the flower blooms at this time of year, as it symbolizes, for me, rebirth. Spiritual rebirth, creative rebirth. Amidst the crumbled brown leaves of last year's untidied garden emerges a fresh, new spirit, not only alive and well, but strong, colorful and bold, and able to make me smile.