When I was a little girl, we moved across town to a bigger house with a bigger yard. The place was more accommodating for our family of six. Shortly thereafter, my youngest sister Jenn joined us. We moved into the house on the hill in November. My dad loved to garden and he was really looking forward to shaping this bigger space into his own little masterpiece.
The woman who had died in the big house had been a bit well-off, as they say. She had a maid/nurse/gardener who ended up taking care of her in her failing health. The nurse was from England and so she put her own little touch on the place. The garden had a definite English feeling to it with long sweeping borders.
The first spring, the woodland beds were full of a plant my mom told us were Virginia Bluebells. They came out early in the year and had lovely oblong leaves and nodding heads of blossoms. As the blossoms aged, they turned a lighter shade of blue. Each year, we waited for Daddy to say, “The bluebells are blooming.” We would all go outside and look at them and oooh and aaaah. I’m not sure if this is how it happened, but I like to think it was.
After the blooms were through, the bluebells would shrivel up and die away. The foilage turned brown and then they would be gone. Mysteriously, the next year, they would re-appear, like old friends who only visit once a year.
When we bought this farm and were starting to make a garden, my mom arrived with some shrivelly looking plants. She said these were “the bluebells.” Her advice was to just stick them in the ground and forget about them til the next year. "Don’t worry how bad they look, Kristin. They'll be beautiful next spring."
I didn't worry. Nasty looking plants never scare me. The next year they bloomed. And the next. Their roots must spread underground because now I have my own little colony just beginning.
The bluebells have started to "go bye" as they say here in New England. I've used them to inspire a little yarn color grouping so I can knit the bluebell memories up next winter.