Transitioning into a petaloso world

I spoke of the impulse in “Hunkering Down – A Lesson From Bees,” which appears in Frederick Swan’s ezine, 2nd Tuesday, and have indeed hunkered down throughout the days of winter. Emerging now from darkness, I am among many who sense they are meeting the world anew. In the sun-shimmered light of day, the bloom is on and the bees are flying.

The world is set right when the bees are flying. Yet, we know that the bees would not long fly were they to find no flowers with which to dance. Nor would many flowers long continue without the pollinators that grace the table they have so ably set. Theirs is a fine, delicate relationship—that exquisite connection between Plantae and Animalia. It is one on which much of our world spins. What’s not to love?

The Promise of Flowers

For us as well as for the bees, a flower is a promise. Our awareness of this is heightened these days perhaps because we have firmly inserted ourselves into the calculation. We’ve determined which and how much and where and under what conditions so many plants now grow—and bloom. The promise of some may only be kept when we deliver a ransom of honey bees by way of migratory beekeepers. Nevertheless, the reciprocating dance between pollinator and flower is magnificent, magical, mesmerizing. It is a beautiful thing.

Beautiful, too, is a mistake an eight-year-old student recently made in Italy, as reported on National Public Radio. His teacher told him so, even as she marked him wrong for a word he had coined when given an assignment to describe flowers. His word: petaloso. The word is one he put together to mean full of petals.

Because his teacher had told him he had made a beautiful mistake, the boy did not discount the word. Instead, he has requested that Italy’s national language academy include the word in the dictionary. As things stand, it may be only a matter of time before they are able to do so.

I am as thankful for our petaloso world as I am for the bees they nourish and the wealth of expression of life. May we all experience the vibrant promise of flowers this spring as we witness countless visits by their awesome pollinators in their timeless dance. We may even contribute to this dance floor in pots and gardens of many sizes. It’s definitely time to do some planting!

SRC: To listen to the NPR story or read the transcript, visit: For access to dozens of Ecoregional Planting Guides, see: And again, to read Frederick Swan’s ezine, go to 2nd Tuesday.