Between my family’s move, the release of Devil in Disguise, three blog tours and travel, things have been a little crazy lately. So for today’s Friday’s Mark, I thought it might be fun to stop and smell the tulips. Please join me in welcoming Bharti Kirchner, author of the gripping mystery Tulip Season. ~Heather
On the first day of spring, I stepped into my yard, a garden party in mind, and what did I see? Clumps of grass had established outposts among the sunny daffodils. Ivy, almost shamelessly, greened up over a fence. Bindweed infiltrated via a network of subterranean runners. I stood there for a moment. The opening battle in the annual war of the weeds had been joined.
Weeds steal water from the plants, depriving them of nutrients, interfering with their root systems, and inhibiting air circulation, and so I have to pull them, a time-consuming process.
The main character, Mitra Basu, in my latest novel titled, Tulip Season: A Mitra Basu Mystery, is a landscape designer and she does her chores well:
A stray buttercup had established itself at the base of a velvety coleus. (Mitra) pulled the buttercup and threw it onto an impromptu compost heap she’d just started. Next, she noticed the prolific clovers, threatening to overtake part of the space occupied by the tulips. Suddenly angry, she bent over and grasped a handful of the clover blossoms by their throats. Her muscles tensing, the blossoms practically bleeding on her fingers from the tight grip, she pulled and pulled them and tossed them into the compost pile. How dare they invade (her) tulips?
Unlike Mitra, I grow flowers only as a pleasant pastime. I like planting seeds, watering the seedlings, and taking off spent blooms. But weeding? I pause to think. Why do we spend time weeding? Two bigger questions are: Why do we grow flowers? Who do we grow flowers for?
An answer to that last question comes from Mitra Basu:
Grandmother appreciated it when Mitra opened the car door for her or poured her tangerine juice, but she smiled the brightest when Mitra walked in with a spray of flowers on her arms.
I’ve noticed the same. The last time I brought a bunch of double peonies in pink to a friend, she murmured in pleasure, clasped the bouquet, and suppressed a tear of joy.
Friends aren’t the only ones to appreciate flowers. With the morning weeding done, I put the shovel away, look up, and pay attention to who’s passing by. A child pauses and notices an insect underneath a leaf. Her face is lit, as though she’s privy to a mysterious act. A dog smells the mowed lawn, flops its ears, apparently happy. A bird settles momentarily on top of a bush for a moment of rest. A woman stoops over the honey suckle and smells the blossoms, saying “Ahh.”
How many people pass by my flower patch every day? How many get a respite from the colors and shapes?
Returning to Mitra, who is also a gardening columnist for a Seattle newspaper, I read that she has quoted Jean Giradoux in one of her columns: “The flower is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.”
Seduction of life? I can weed for that.