Photo by Cherie Langlois
Our April showers show no sign of stopping just because we entered a new month—kind of a bummer from this sun-starved gardener’s perspective—but at least they did bring lovely May flowers, including one of my favorites: The forget-me-not.
Years ago I transplanted a couple of forget-me-not clumps from my mother-in-law’s pretty garden in Portland to our moist, shady front yard, where they happily reproduced with wild abandon (warning: They can be invasive).
Every spring, despite zero care on my part, these hardy, long-blooming members of the Borage family return to electrify my garden and seduce honeybees with their dainty blue petals.
Today, beneath glowering clouds, they gave me a bright send-off on my morning run/walk, and down the road another group of forget-me-nots—a deeper shade of blue than my own—cheered me along the way.
Some 50 different species exist, and I believe mine are true forget-me-nots (Myosotis scorpioides), an introduced perennial from Europe that has naturalized like the dandelion and daisy.
As the name implies, these flowers—popular in Victorian times—symbolize remembrance and love. One romantic story (or poem) intertwined with the forget-me-not goes something like this: After gathering these flowers for his lady, a knight swam back to her across the river and the weight of his armor pulled him down—but not before he tossed the bouquet to his lady love and begged her to forget him not.
I love to cut sprigs of forget-me-nots and put them in petite vases around the house. In the past, I’ve dug blossoming plants as presents to friends or my daughter’s teachers at the end of the school year.
Another fun forget-me-not activity: Snip the delicate little flowers off, use tweezers to set them stem-side up on a paper towel between the pages of a big phone book, carefully cover them with another paper towel, and press them until completely dry (you can also use a flower press, if you have one).
One year I made pretty forget-me-not cards by tracing a heart-shaped cookie cutter with pencil on cardstock and then glued the flowers one by one onto the line so they formed a heart shape.
At the time, I covered them with contact paper, but this year I’d like to do this and then make color copies of the design on cards. You could also use the forget-me-nots to create a piece of pressed-flower art to grace your wall.
Forget not to smell and admire your May flowers!