by Charlotte Phillips
All photos courtesy of Charlotte Phillips
I’ve never been much of a one for flowers. I don’t remember ever having bouquets or bulbs in the house. Years ago, when my husband gave me a packet of mini glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs in lieu of flowers, I thought that was just about the most romantic thing in the world (the present was well-tailored to its recipient, and I still have most of them).
Then the dreaded spring of 2020 happened, and I found myself peering out into our communal garden as little pricks of color burst through the grass. Every day there were more of them, all in different colors and shapes that I’d never noticed before. I started to learn their names and uses, and was hooked.
This year, I’ve been waiting impatiently for the first flowers to come out, which seem to be snowdrops, violets, and tiny blue Persian veronica.
Daisies, dandelions, malva, and silene come through next, and before long, every spare inch of grass-covered soil is bursting with color.
Wild violets are found in green spaces all over Trieste right now, and can be dried and used in cakes or as a simple tea. The flowers become almost transparent and lend a dark blue color to the hot water.
In the claustrophobic boredom of last spring, I also discovered that violets can be used as a science game for kids.You make an intense infusion of violet tea (from experience, I’d let LOTS of violets soak for a few hours), pour into a glass, then add lemon juice. The tea turns bright pink, due to the change in pH of the liquid. It also tastes better, if, like me, you’re not crazy about sweet teas.
I can’t help thinking of the beginning of the pandemic while I watch the flowers grow this year, but I’m hoping that when the association fades, it’ll be replaced by a lasting love for wildflowers.