Seven years ago my brother died. We discovered the last song he had listened to was ‘Wildflowers’ by Tom Petty and this notion of resting among the wildflowers led us towards a natural burial in a beautiful setting.
Sun Rising Natural Burial Ground and Nature Reserve.
When we came to look of suitable flower arrangements though, it was difficult to find anything that was really…him. Everything was a little too formal, or too ‘generic’. It was the only part of the day that didn’t feel quite right. Pondering this problem in my garden one morning, my heart heavy with sadness, I noticed that while we had been busy with all those things that follow the death of a loved one, the first tangle of red campion amongst the Roses and cornflowers had appeared. I cut a few to arrange in a vase and realised these were exactly what I needed to make something beautiful.
The whole process of doing this for him helped settle something inside myself. I loved the natural simplicity of the arrangement, the riot of colours and the idea that they had grown locally rather than having been transported thousands of miles.
I discovered that other people were facing the same problem of finding the ‘right’ flowers so I started helping them. After all, you don’t need to be ‘into flowers’ to enjoy seeing wild Poppies scattered in the field when you walk the dog? Or daffodils unfurling their vibrant petals in early spring?
Now, I sow, cultivate and create all the natural arrangements myself so I can take care of the whole cycle and my experience as a horticulturalist means I can supply an arrangement throughout the year.
Somehow, in all that sadness, having my brother rest among the wildflowers seemed to help us to celebrate him and his life and now when I see cornflowers, I think of him close to me.
“You belong among the wildflowers, you belong on a boat out at sea, sail away forget all the hours, you belong somewhere you feel free.”