The magic of summer.

My son picks lots of flowers for me. Roses with the stems so short I can barely balance them in narrow-mouthed vases, bunches of yarrow with the roots still attached, handfuls of snowballs that drape lazily over the sides of cups, and the single peony if I’m lucky. (She’s so gorgeous, and such a show-off.)

I’m most impressed at his harvest of thistles while they’re still soft and purple, and the way he can even make the flowering groundcover look like a bouquet in his dirty little fist. But his favorites to gift remain the yellow heads of dandelions, and there’s almost always a collection of those fuzzy things, floating in a shallow bowl of water in our kitchen.

But it never quite works out that way.

We are your garden variety (pun intended!) type who excel at tomatoes and gigantic zucchini and ungroomed and feisty raspberry bushes that send runners all over the yard. Meaning, we seem to be good at things we can ignore for a week then rediscover, heading out to harvest only what we want to eat from the vine, that very minute, or what we want to roast, that very night.

And, to be certain there’s a very real simple beauty in that. But it has nothing on the green thumbs we feature in this issue.

The idea of coaxing and nurturing something into existence that wasn’t there before, then sharing it, and then maybe learning something in the process, is immensely fulfilling to the soul in this day and age of fast food and easy access. And I think we all want in on that goodness. So whether your own “Home Grown” comes from a family farm or a tried and true recipe, a long-cultivated friendship or a choice to “bloom where you’re planted,” to grow and share seems to be one of the most beautiful aspects of living. More beautiful that even the showiest of peony.

Or dandelion.