“The earth laughs in flowers.”
Sage words from the great Ralph Waldo Emerson and in these days with dark and dismal headlines weighing upon our spirits, we could all benefit from more joy in our lives. Simple pleasures of watching bees hover over plump blooms or the sound of nothing but carefree summer breezes rustling through the treetops. These are the innate pleasures we need most right now and an escape to nature is balm for the soul.
On a bright June morning, after a ferocious thunderstorm the night before, the air was fresh and intoxicating with promise. It was a Monday and the world was at work, but a few of us gave in to a whim and road tripped 45 minutes south with a delightful destination in our scope. Today was the day we were taking a field trip to the Blue Lotus Flower Farm.
They say the greatest gift in this life is a sister and I have four, as well as a beloved brother. Each a treasure, abound with creative talents, we have remained a close knit litter and glory in our time spent together. Melissa, the founder of Victorian Trading Company, has been my mentor and her “where there is a will, there is a way” mantra has influenced my perspective on business and life in general. Another sister, Catherine, is the master gardener of our clan and the creator and proprietress of Blue Lotus Ranch, the glorious destination of our outing. A natural affinity for gardening, she was always the child with her hands in the dirt and heart in nature. The colorful empire she created is nothing short of miraculous. Clusters of colors forming a delicate palette of nature’s needlepoint against a canvas of rich greenery and a piercing blue sky.
Chickens running free with wild abandon were our entertainment as we meandered through overflowing rows of thriving flora and listened to Catherine give us the particulars on each plant as if they were all her personal favorites. Feeling completely inept in my botanical knowledge, I snapped pictures and made mental notes of the abundance of practical wisdoms being shared. The poppy dries and the center cone becomes a tiny shaker for the seeds. A variety of plants choose where to volunteer and you let them gravitate to their happy place. Some like the sun while others prefer shade. Some are invasive. Some are poisonous. Realizing I would not be leaving an expert, I decided to simply enjoy my surroundings and roam. I was amused that the butterflies were dutifully hovering around the milkweed in textbook fashion and that even a few wasps were buried deep in the blooms, but keeping their distance on the fringes of the field. Tom and Buttercup, the canine ambassadors of Blue Lotus Ranch, wandered with me and seemed to be overtly proud of the fruits of my sister’s labor. A few weeks before it had been nothing but mounds of dirt and they had witnessed the toils and the transformation into this pastoral paradise.
A charming blanched greenhouse made of upcycled windows stood in the midst of a flowering sea, fully enveloped by delicate tendrils of poppies and lacy clumps of daisies. Even the wild Queen Anne’s Lace and low-lying purple coned clovers joined the soiree as the kaleidoscope of colors swayed gently around us.
The beauty of a flower farm is that it is ever changing. The peonies and iris had been celebrated, now the larkspur, verbascum and foxglove had taken the stage. Nature’s wonder would continue when more sunlight and heat would coax the tiny zinnia buds and cosmos out of their infancy. My sister discovered this piece of Kansas farmland years ago and created a haven with a clear vision of what she wanted it to be. Every year it evolves and grows, and she does as well. Reaping the glories of the successes and learning from the failures, she plants her seeds and hopes that they will thrive. Nature is a teacher of patience and humility, but her rewards are bountiful and soul-satisfying.
Catherine heaped our arms with fresh cuttings and crafted bouquets that were delightfully perfumed with hints of rain and sunshine. Resembling an old French oil painting, the colors were breathtaking and frothy greenery framed an exotic collective of colors.
When I was pulling out of her gravel drive, I felt a pang of mournfulness. Tom was dutifully seeing us out and I could see him wagging his tail in my rearview mirror. Life here was clean and sweet and returning to the city felt like a daunting task. Inspired and renewed by our stolen day at the flower farm, I vowed that I would return soon and treat myself to the simple pleasure of always being in the company of fresh flowers. Blue Lotus Ranch did not disappoint and made me realize that the happiest lives are those lived nearest to nature.