Cooney tells the story of a young girl who promised her grandfather three things when she grew up: to travel to far away places, to live in a house by the sea, and to do something to make the world more beautiful. Miss Rumphius grew up to travel the world and then settled down in a house by the sea. After much thought, she decided to make the world more beautiful by spreading lupine seeds throughout the countryside, earning herself the nickname of the Lupine Lady.
I wanted to be the Lupine Lady. Thankfully, my mom was awesome and decided to put up with my shenanigans, providing me with a bucket full of lupine seeds. I scattered them through our yard and garden, then did the same to all of the neighbors’ yards. The lupines that I planted in our garden lasted for years, until after I left for college (at which point my dad accidentally took them out with a lawnmower). The lupines that I planted in neighbors’ yards didn’t fare quite so well. Many years later, I realized that this was likely because lupines only bloom every other year, and young lupine plants when not in bloom bear a startling resemblance to a certain plant known as cannabis that the law abiding neighbors probably wouldn’t want in their yards.