Baby’s Breath has sentimental meaning for me; a favourite aunt of mine had baby’s breath growing in the flower bed under her kitchen window and it was always the first sight that I saw when we got to Brandon from Regina. The summers that I spent there were magic. My aunt was loving, strict, and had my best interests at heart. My uncle was just…fun. Even as I write this I can still hear him singing “Clang clang clang went the trolly”.
Gypsophila is a great plant to attract bees and other pollinators, developing into an almost shrub-like mound of tiny white flowers that have a sweet, sometimes sickly scent. The first time I planted it was in the northern most end of my west flower bed, and a daylily that went in beside it would thrust up a blossom spike through the white creating a great contrast of pale white and rusty red flowers. I’ve left them to cut back until spring because two springs ago when I started weeding I accidentally pulled up the shoots of the new plant that was put in the following year on the south side of the bed. My bad.
The plant is seen in a lot of ditches around the province now and has the reputation of being somewhat of a weed. The story my grandmother told me was that in the 20’s and 30’s, people would include gypsophila in floral arrangements that they left on graves during funerals. Some of these bunches had seed pods, and the rest is history. Now random bunches of baby’s breath can be seen in ditches all over the province.
So the next time you see wild flowers in a ditch, and think they’re beautiful, just remember: they could be there because of dead people.