“A little garden to walk, and immensity to reflect upon….At his feet something to cultivate and gather; above his head something to study and meditate upon; a few flowers on the earth, and all the stars in the sky.”
That’s from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. I could write non-stop for years and never come up with anything that captures it as well.
But sometimes, Monsieur Hugo, the stars are on the earth…
Its big name is Trientalis borealis spp. latifolia, but who would trade that for a name like Starflower?
I don’t know why I go for these little (about 6-8 inches tall in this case) wildflowers with itsy bitsy blooms that you can look right over the top of and never even see while your eyes are being dazzled by some enormous rose. (I do love roses.)
Surely some of the attraction is in the name. Words sprinkle images and emotions into your mind, all the extras you know, connotations. It’s like words all have big families of meaning that they bring with them when you invite them to dinner. And “star” has an enormous family.
Then there is this feature about the starflower: the blooms are on delicate, almost-invisible stems that you can hardly see at all so the pink stars seem to float above the leaves, a kind of well-executed stage trick. (I love theater too.)
Like many native plants, the Starflower will be fruitful and multiply if given a very shady, woodsy spot in the garden. They will spread happily, so you can dig up new plants and give them to worthy friends or start new neighborhoods of them as needed. (You could pull them up too, but remember that some people think our lives are controlled by stars; there could be consequences.)
Really the hardest thing about Starflowers is finding some to buy. I bought mine a couple years ago from a well-stocked native plant nursery called Echo Valley Natives in Oregon City. (You would like it.)
Vincent knew there were gardens behind each of those houses.
More stars. This is Smilacina stellata, Starry Solomon’s Seal. It is a tall groundcover (up to 24″), a kind of mid-size between real grounded groundcovers and taller stuff like ferns and shrubs. It spreads in the earth so keep it for the less controlled shady beds. The blooms stand out snowy starry white against the greeny leaves.
Stars in the sunlight.
Not a flower, here is my dear kitchen star. It’s paper, a product called Starlightz, and comes out any time of day, a gift from my grown-up children.
Years ago I told them that there is a switch where I turn on the outside stars every night. But they are pretty normal adults anyway.