So my tomatoes – you know, the Siberian one and the Czech one – are both infected with plague. I think it’s because Siberia and Czechoslovakia don’t have droughts and ridiculously high temperatures in their mountains whereas my backyard has both of those things this year. I’ve babied these ungrateful plants and now all I can do is yell profanities at them and cry. I guess it’s like having a teenager come home with an STD or something.
Being me, I freaked out and figured these two disease vectors would go after all the other plants in the yard just out of spite and malice so I moved them far away, over to the fence and to the neighbors’ stupid, invasive, evil acacia forest. The rest of my nightshades (ok, I’m showing off; they’re potatoes) seem to be doing fine as are the vine plants and the strawberries which is good because, apparently, they’re all susceptible to blight and other horrors.
As you can imagine, I’ve been bummed. Stupid tomatoes. However, my spirits were lifted on the 4th of July when Noelle and her family came over. She walked up to the door, saw my new Bachelor’s Buttons, and pretty much shrieked, “YOU HAVE CORNFLOWERS! I AM SO JEALOUS!” I always feel good when I can make her jealous.
We’ve loved these happy flowers since we moved to our little mountain town as children. I don’t think we’d ever seen them down in the city and they grew abundantly all through our new town along with the ornamental sweet peas, Oriental poppies, and wild roses. But the cornflowers were the most amazing; they’re bright and so round, like a wagon wheel that’s really fancy…and not on a wagon. They survive grubby child hands and they thrive even if you ride your bike over them every day. They’re wonderful little things and we fell madly in love with them, a love that has endured all this time.
Sadly, years later, they started to disappear. I don’t know what happened. The ones that did pop up were only blue, cornflower blue (that used to be a Crayola crayon color, do you remember?) and not the white-with-purple/pink-center or the light-pink-with-dark-pink-center or the megawatt-magenta (those are the most rare). Just blue and few. Even now, I only see small patches of them in rocks or empty lots, not the proliferation from my childhood.
It was a happy day when they began blooming in my front yard, a whole new patch I’d seeded from the drought-resistant mix I bought this past spring. Even Noelle noticed their cuteness and I think I am going to Miss Rumphius their seeds up and down the roads this autumn so that my little mountain town will once again be colored with summer’s Bachelor’s Buttons which will, in turn, make me feel better about my failed tomatoes.