Amateur Ikebana

The soundtrack to this post:

After visiting Copenhagen in 2012, where flowers are everywhere, I've tried to make a habit of keeping fresh flowers in my home at all times. Besides their obvious aesthetic value, I really appreciate the chance to practice composition. I find it really calming to bring an armful of blooms and greenery home and spend some quiet time snipping and styling them together. 

"Ikebana is a disciplined art form in which the arrangement is a living thing where nature and humanity are brought together. It is steeped in the philosophy of developing a closeness with nature."

This week, at my favorite flower shop in the city (aside from the crazy-cheap flowers at the Inner Sunset Farmer's Market), I picked up some Queen Anne's Lace, something I hadn't seen much of since my childhood on an Oregon farm.

The stems, when freshly trimmed, smell like carrot greens. I felt so clever, identifying that, until a bit of research revealed that Queen Anne's Lace is apparently "Wild Carrot," so... duh.

Though the version I picked up is mostly purple, the Queen Anne's Lace of my childhood was bright white, with a purple dot in the center. As a kid, my mother told me it got its name from a fable in which Queen Anne pricked her finger when sewing lace.

There's another, more horrifying version, in which the flower was named after Anne Boleyn:

"A more gruesome story refers to the earlier Anne Boleyn (1507–1536), the beheaded wife of King Henry VIII of England. The white flower cluster representing the lace around her neck and the tiny purple flower in the centre representing the point of decapitation."

Neither of us thought this post was ending up here, but here we are. 

Get some flowers. Look them up. You will most likely learn something surprising. 

Spend some time snipping away and composing something physical, and you might just feel more relaxed for having done so.