February 15, 2013

Mustard and Buckeye

Few things make me nostalgic like mustard flowers. My elementary school was surrounded by vineyards, and in the early Spring (technically Winter, really) the mustard would bloom in the disturbed soil between the grapevines. For a week or so, the warm air would be thick with the grassy, sweet scent of a million of tiny flowers, and for the first time in months The Last Day of School seemed attainable.

This birthday arrangement was sent to a mother from a Napa native son living out of state, so I thought he might appreciate some mustard flower-y goodness despite their fragility (they fade quickly but gracefully). Here they are in a wild mixture of narcissus and buckeye (another nostalgic Spring favorite) from Napa, feverfew and snapdragons from Watsonville, and tulips from Arcata. 


  1. When I was growing up in So Cal, the wild mustard covered the hills in the spring between Long Beach and San Diego. I was told by a teacher that the Spaniards planted the mustard along the El Camino Real to lead the way from Mission to Mission. In the winter, the dry stalks of the mustard looked like soft fur covering the roadside for miles. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Thank you for sharing your beautiful memory, Shelley! I've heard the same story about the Spaniards planting mustard along way from mission to mission- a trail of gold to lead the way! I believe it, too, having not seen as much mustard north of Sonoma county . . . but maybe I'm just not up there at the right time of year?

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