Ellie’s Favorite Flower

Written by: Ellie T. Frederick, Spring 2012 intern

Photo Courtesy of The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Flowers have a variety of uses and stories to tell. They are symbolic and every flower has a meaning. There are edible flowers, poisonous flowers, structured flowers, and wild flowers. The ubiquitous nature of wildflowers in their fields is quite representative of my flower-child adolescence. I was the teen who challenged the structured walls of my prosaic school system with Birkenstocks, long-flowing skirts, and vegetarianism. I challenged my ninth grade science lab with a long explanation against dissection and was rewarded with an alternative assignment.

Described as “a flower that is able to grow independently, in a natural environment without human assistance,” wildflowers are a potential favorite; the inability to conform a wildflower to one particular species speaks volumes to my inability (err…refusal) to conform as an adolescent. Wildflowers are not necessarily known for their beauty. They are not ugly by any means, but seldom is the wedding that features wildflowers. The allure of the wildflower is its strength to grow in any climate. Having been quite the nomad post-high school I was always able to grow, always able to find a home. And while my field has proven to be Alabama and my adulthood has proven that conformity is sometimes inevitable, nothing has ceased my ability to grow anywhere I’m planted.