Not being much of a gardener, I find wildflowers especially appealing. They voluntarily spring up along the roadside, in the woods and wherever they find a hospitable habitat. No cultivating required. This spring we planned our whole bike tour around the bluebonnets of Texas, and reveled in the seas of blue we found populating the Hill Country. The petite spiky plants were as irresistible as they were attractive. We never grew tired of seeing them.
That was in early April. At the time, northern Minnesota was steeped in mud season, not even close to spring yet. But that was actually to our benefit, because we were able to experience spring all over again when we returned home in mid-May.
With the arrival of June came the return of one of our favorite wildflowers, the lupine. These tall spiny flowers grace the North Shore, mainly in shades of purple with occasional pink and white blossoms sprinkled in between. It’s no accident that they bear a strong resemblance to the bluebonnets – those Texas beauties are actually of the “genus Lupinus” so belong to the same plant family. What I find especially humorous is that in this case the Minnesota version far bigger than that of Texas. While bluebonnets grow to be 12-24 inches tall, our lupine reach 1-4 feet high. Not everything is bigger and better in Texas!
Although technically considered an invasive species, and therefore shunned by purists, we chose to introduce lupine to the natural (read “wild”) landscape of our yard. Rich painstakingly harvested seeds last fall and sowed them among our grasses. This spring they actually came up, and the initial blossoms are now gracing the view from our windows. The hope is that they will increase and multiply, some day yielding our own personal field of purple rocket flowers. Whether large or small, Texas or Minnesota, we love those lupine.