Away from the mower’s blade, the belly flowers bloom

May 17, 2014 

Those early morning hours when the air is still damp and cool, when the dew is still fresh and sweet with the perfume of the night, bring us to the magic hours of the belly flower.

Belly flowers are those floral gems so close to the ground you need to almost be down on your belly to see them. With their smiling faces scarcely noted, we carelessly trample them underfoot, but each is a living manuscript, a reminder of nature’s persistence, the endless contest between the works of the heavens and insistence of the human race.

From a practical point of view, most land possessors prefer keeping their grounds as uncluttered as possible, preferring their land covered by lawns or crops. Thus cultivated areas are not the most profitable places to make acquaintance with the wild belly flower. Nor are belly flowers to be found in floral shops or marketed at the garden centers. Instead, they tell the story of earlier wild ways.

The wildflowers that appear with the opening of these spring days represent the peaking of nature’s diversity and beauty. Free from pots and pruning, they thrive in their own heavens, whether it be a high mountain meadow, a brushy fence line, abandoned road bed, homestead or the edge of a quiet stream or woodland.

Belly flower lands provide the pasturing grounds for butterflies, hummingbirds and honey bees. They are the undomesticated refuges where the daisies and dandelions, the violets and clover thrive, the baby blue bonnets and asters, the buttercups and wild roses find sanctuary. Freed from mower and poisons, they are the little appreciated beauties of the floral world.

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