Dreaming is an gift, just like patience, just like happiness. It comes to us free when we're born but we lose track of it through our life's grumbles, through the 'can't do's, 'must not's and 'maybe later's.
They pop up everywhere as soon as the cold season ends, covering the roots of shady trees, peeking out from the grass, twinkling in the crude light of spring.
You get lost in thought gazing at a barren winter garden and your dreams weave new color schemes and anticipate honeysuckle and lily fragrance. All of a sudden you are six again, that extraordinary age when everything was new and miraculous, when you didn't question what was possible and you weren't realistic and reasonable.
The garden in your mind grows with new flowers, colorful foliage, and maybe that fragrant shrub you always wanted. Little stepping stones appear, leading the way through shady nooks to a place that would be just perfect for a climbing rose if only you added an arbor. A little bench, a tall bird bath, flowering myrtle flowing over the edge of an old retaining wall.
Something always snaps you out of your reverie, the cat jumps on the kitchen counter, the kids start chasing each other around the house, the phone rings. The wonderful picture slowly melts before your eyes and you go back to keeping track of your deadlines and forget all about it.
The landscape of your dreams doesn't go away, though. It waits patiently in a deep recess of your mind and pops out when you least expect it, nudging you to bring it to reality. Sooner or later you have to make it happen at least in part if you want to have some peace because every time you look at your garden you remember its ideal image etched inside your brain. Add that arbor, place those stepping stones, plant those perennials that take decades to mature, they won't leave you be if you don't.
Some people call this obsessing, I choose to call it art. The art of dreaming.
Come February the flower department at the grocery store overflows with cheerful blossoms. I can never resist them, of course, and this is how this perennial cutie made it to my home. It drew me close with its enticing fragrance (primroses have a delightful perfume), even though the cheerful yellow would have been reason enough.
If you have a cottage garden you must have primroses. Almost as nostalgic and old-fashioned as the violets the primroses share their heart-shaped leaves, their demure demeanor and avid spreading habits, their charming scent and their simply romantic flowers. They don't tolerate draughts or full sun exposure well but will not mind heavy soils.
Primroses are not demanding plants, though not long lived. Their blooming season is incredibly long, spanning from mid-February until way into May.
There is a lot of folklore associated with the primrose, some quirky and cheery, some sad and heartbreaking. I'll just go through a few superstitions I found fascinating.
In the old times people believed primroses could give them the ability to see fairies and also protect folks from the magical beings' well-known mischief.
If you are raising chickens never get a primrose posy with less than thirteen flowers or some of the eggs under the hen won't hatch. Bringing the flowers indoors, especially in groups of less than thirteen spells miserable luck and certain doom.
In Germany primroses are called key flowers because of a legend associated with them: a little girl found a door covered in flowers, touched it with a primrose and discovered an enchanted castle. The cute yellow flowers are thought to grow over buried treasure and open passage to secret worlds.
As far as the flowers in the picture are concerned, they came from the grocery store in a pot. I didn't count the blossoms before I brought them inside the house but I'm still breathing, so I assume they were at least thirteen. I waited until the end of March and planted them in the back yard. I'll watch them carefully this spring and if they bloom I'll dig for treasure!