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5 Creative Ways to be Inspired by Flowers this Spring

Updated: Apr 24

I'm in a floral state of mind! Here's how you can enjoy this season more by being inspired by flowers.


Daffodils in the sun photo by Kendra W. Houston

Thou yellow trumpeter of laggard Spring! 

Thou herald of rich Summer’s myriad flowers! 

The climbing sun with new recovered powers

Does warm thee into being, through the ring

Of rich, brown earth he woos thee, makes thee fling

Thy green shoots up, inheriting the dowers 

Of bending sky and sudden, sweeping showers, 

Till ripe and blossoming thou art a thing 

To make all nature glad, thou art so gay; 

To fill the lonely with a joy untold; 

Nodding at every gust of wind to-day, 

To-morrow jewelled with raindrops. Always bold 

To stand erect, full in the dazzling play 

Of April's sun, for thou hast caught his gold.

 

-"To An Early Daffodil" by Amy Lowell

 

Hi Friends,

 

Earlier this month, I made a trip to Fort Worth, Texas to visit family. Between the colorful springtime views and solar eclipse (whose path of totality went right over my parent's house!), there was a ton of inspiration to be had. I then came back to New England starting its own full bloom. I'm excited to bring it all with me into the studio now!

 

It brought to mind how flowers are a key way we enjoy this time of year. Not an original thought (there is a joke about it in the movie The Devil Wears Prada)...but true nonetheless.


Flowers are the classic symbol of Earth waking back up after winter, a sign of more sunshine and energy arriving. For me, their arrival every year never gets old.

So I came up with five flower-focused ideas for enjoying the season wherever you live, and am sharing them alongside photos and stories from my trip!


1. Destinations


Purple Irises photo by Kendra W. Houston

Visiting a nearby Botanical Garden, Conservatory, or historical estate is a great way to immerse yourself in flowers and all that they inspire. You may find yourself going home with fresh ideas for a painting or a new addition to your landscape!

 

Where might you go that's nearby? On this most recent trip, we visited the Botanical Gardens of Fort Worth. When I lived in Chicago, a favorite haunt of mine was the Lincoln Park Conservatory. Here in Rhode Island, I really enjoy Daffodil Days at the historical Blithewold Mansion & Gardens. Even if nothing immediately comes to mind, you may be surprised what you can find with a little exploring off the beaten path.


2. Artwork


Pink Iceland Poppies photo by Kendra W. Houston

Create or seek out artwork featuring your favorite flower. Mine has always been the Iris, but I saw some Iceland Poppies during this trip that had me seriously second guessing! I've since enjoyed learning more about them. Art is an excellent way to experience old or recent favorites from new, beautiful perspectives.

 

You may spend a rainy day at an Impressionist exhibit to scope out Water Lilies, or bring a camera into your garden to take some artsy shots of the Daisy patch. Without leaving the house, you could go down an image search rabbit hole on Sunflowers, or make a sketch of the potted African Violets in your windowsill.



3. In the Wild


Texas wildflower photo by Kendra W. Houston

Go on a drive or nature walk to see what's blooming in the wild. In my opinion, Spring is the best time of year to visit Texas because of all the wildflowers! Every road is bordered with fields of color from Evening Primroses, Indian Paintbrushes, the famous Bluebonnets, and more. Going for a walk or country drive has you stumbling upon truly magical scenes.

 

An outdoor adventure in your own area is a fun opportunity to learn more about local native flowering plants, as well as the wildlife they attract.

For bonus points, bring along a state wildflower guidebook or use the "Seek" app to learn their names and interesting facts. You may also end up discovering ways to help support the local ecosystems while you're there, like removing litter or invasive plant species.


4. Reading


Daffodils laying on a vintage book photo by Kendra W. Houston

Revel in the feelings flowers evoke through the written word. As demonstrated in the sonnet I shared at the start of this newsletter, literature like books and poetry have the power to put into words something you might not have been able to express yourself, and gives an experience or season more meaning. 

 

My vacation read on this trip was overall just okay, but something I did love about it was that flowers play a prominent role in the story.


To be admiring flowers in real life while reading lovely descriptions of them in the fictional world added a little more springtime magic to my day.

Between obvious classics like The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and obscure non-fictions like A Painter's Garden by Christine Walker, there's likely to be something for everyone willing to do a little hunting at the local library.


5. Food


Foraged flower salad with nasturtiums and honeysuckle

A pasta salad made with Nasturtiums, Honeysuckle, Daylily buds, Squash blossoms, and chopped fresh herbs.


Making food with edible flowers is a delight to all your senses. It helps you appreciate springtime beauty in a whole new way. And since flowers arrive before fruits and vegetables, when done early in the season, it means you're getting some long-awaited freshness in your diet earlier than usual. Here are a few common ones for both spring and summer; do your own searching to find out what other kinds of edible flowers might be accessible to you! Many are easier than you'd expect.

 

  • Nasturtiums - Have a strong, unexpected peppery flavor and are great on salads. Easy to grow in pots.

  • Violets - Often candied and used to decorate desserts. Depending on where you live, many yards sport clusters of Violets ready for picking in early spring.

  • Elderflowers - A Scandinavian favorite for tea, lemonade, or cordials--and boosts your immune system as well!

  • Daylilies (buds) - The buds can be prepared any way you would cook green beans or asparagus. Just be sure you use buds from the Daylily (grass-like leaves, and flowers on different stems), not a Lily (all flowers and leaves on the same stem).

  • Squash blossoms - Delicious when stuffed, baked or fried. Picking only male flowers ensures you will still end up with squash on your plant!



a brown rabbit eating blossoms

Number 5 is by far the Studio Assistant's favorite recommendation. When we got back from our trip, all the fruit trees were starting to come into bloom! While not tasty to humans, some of them do make a perfect rabbit snack. Here he's enjoying the blossoms and wood of a Callery Pear tree.

 

If you enjoy learning creative lifestyle tips like these for making the most out of each season, this is just a taste. I save all my best stuff for The Casual Reply quarterly online magazine. If you want to learn more about what that is or how to sign up, click the link:



 

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