A IS FOR ASTER.
B is for begonia.
Lately I’m having trouble staying asleep. I nod off all right, but sometime around 4am I’m abruptly awake, listening for . . . something. There’s a lot of nothing out there. No cars. No horns. The birds are sleeping.
C is for cyclamen.
Cyclamen has such soft, velvety leaves, doesn’t it? And the color!
I started this flower alphabet a few nights ago. One letter, one flower. By the end, if I reach it, I’ll cadge a few more hours of sleep. One could do this with anything: girls’ names, boys’ names, birds, book titles, cars . . .
It’s like that jump-rope jingle we used to recite—or was it a hand-clapping game? A my name is Anna and my husband’s name is Alan, we come from Albania where we sell apples . . . and so forth. Interesting that it was always their business (we sell . . . “), and it was the 1950s.
D is for delphinium.
E . . . E is a tough one.
Echeveria? That could be a flower or maybe it’s a medicine? Something for arthritis or incontinence, perhaps. I’ll count it and move on. My game.
F is for freesia.
Oh, freesias are so perfectly named. They have an icy scent, don’t they? As if jasmine were flowering in a snowdrift.
G is for geranium.
Red geraniums are so elegant. So why does the eye go to the hottest, tackiest pink in the garden center?
H is for heliotrope.
Does heliotrope resemble delphinium? I suppose, if you sat on it. They’re a similar blue . . .
I is for iris.
I don’t actually say the “is for” part; it’s easier to write than “I . . . iris,” for example.
J is for jonquil.
And what is the difference between a jonquil and a daffodil? The game doesn’t allow me to look this up. If I turn on the light I will never get back to sleep. I could ask Alexa, but that would wake My Prince. Besides, the thinking is what knocks me out, eventually.
K is for kalanchoe.
L is for lily.
Hustle up. I try to do this as quickly as possible, for some reason racing along is important. I eat that way too, sometimes. Like someone is going to take my plate away, as my mother used to say. But that is neither here nor there.
M is for mum.
That should be chrysanthemum, but I can cheat! My game.
N is for neroli.
Is neroli a flower? It must be. Smells like the very essence of fresh lemon. It also sounds as if you’re conjuring a genie from a bottle . . . nerrrroliiiiiii!
O is for orchid.
Need to get a few more tiny orchids to tuck around the pond . . . when I nerve myself up to go to Trader Joe’s, where they’re fairly cheap. If I squint, the setting looks a little like the orchid section of the Botanic Garden. I did say “a little” and “squint.”
P is for peony.
PEONY! The thought of the scent makes me dreamy . . .
Q is for quince.
Q is also for Queen Anne’s Lace, a frustrating weed, highly invasive—if you can get it to grow. I, of course, would love to grow it. There’s nothing like the frothy tremble of their big, lacy white caps dancing along a path. I also like them in a vase when it’s broiling out and the dust motes float around the living room catching sunlight like diamond bits.
R is for ranunculus.
S is for sedum.
They have flowers, sedum. They are also ridiculously easy to propagate: Pinch a bit and stick it in soil. The end.
T is for tillandsia.
Air plants! If you’re lucky they flower. Sometimes they die and you don’t know it until they shrivel like mummies. Did you know there’s a genus of around 650 species of tillandsia? Neither did I until two minutes ago. I had to check the spelling.
U is for urva ursi.
A what? Cheat alert. Several nights of frustration sent me to the Internet. It’s a flowering bush sometimes used to treat urinary tract infections.
V is for Veronica.
If I had another daughter this would be high on the name list.
W is for wisteria.
Which didn’t blossom at all this year—meanwhile the neighbor’s is bursting with flowers, sprawled over her garage roof and dripping into the alley. At least I get to smell it—but that was not the picture I had in mind. Ah well, next lifetime.
X is for . . .
X is for nothing, nothing. I’ll come back to it at the end . . .
Y is for yarrow.
Z is for zinnia.
Zinnia is tops on the list of flowers for children to grow. So easy, they say. Why are mine so measly?
Back to X x x x x x ………..xxxxxxxxxxxxx………….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
LittleBird “Stephanie Gardens” writes and cooks and, yes, gardens when she’s not dozing.
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