Wednesday, March 24, 2010

If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store
Two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole,
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.

Musharish-Ud-Din Sadi
13th century Persian Poet

The Grape Hyacinth flower (Muscari) is part of the Liliaceae (Lily Family); it is native to Greece and the Middle East and can be found around the Mediterranean Sea from Spain all the way round to Morocco.

Weather sunny, mid-60s.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Failure to Success

Last year I bought a Columbine "Leprechaun Gold" (aquilegia vulgaris), which was flowering at the time. Planted it in a container and never saw another blossom. I thought: buy no more.

The foliage took off and I forgot what the plant was. I really liked the marbled leaves and they added great interest and color to the container. Winter comes, plants die back til this week. It has perked back up, spreading the foliage. I got to wondering what it was, and realized - this is the "failed" Columbine. Failure no more. I'll get more just for the leaves!

Researching about the plant, I discovered this: "COLUMBINE comes from the Latin columba, meaning "dove." The scientific name of aquilegia suggests is derived from aquila, an eagle.

An association has been formed to make this the national flower of the United States, as the rose is the flower of England and the lily of France, for its common name sug- gests Columbus and Columbia, its botanical name associates it with the bird of freedom, it can be raised from seed in almost any of our gardens, and it is native to nearly all of our States.

Weather today - sunny - 65 F.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Turkey & Tulips

When in Turkey last year, I learned that tulips came from there before arriving in Holland. Here is some more information found about this subject.

"Tulips are an everlasting symbol of Istanbul and Turkey, not the familiar varieties with rounded incurving petals seen in northern Europe and North America, but with pointed outward directed petals in the shape of daggers or needles. This stylized tulip decorates the mall between the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia and emphasizes these features, representing an entire period of Turkish history as well as an on-going love affair between the city and the tulip. Today in Istanbul there is said to be one tulip for every one of its 12 million inhabitants. The fuselage of Turkish Airlines planes carries a logo of a tulip as well. Millions of dollars ( even more in lira) have been spent on plantings all over Istanbul with a tulip festival annually.

Wild-growing tulips in Iran and Eastern Turkey were imported to Istanbul before the 15th C but were heavily cultivated in gardens and flowerbox settings in Istanbul as well as depicted in art and craft. From here came the spread of tulipmania to Western Europe and Holland in particular in the 1630's. The English word tulip is derived from the Turkish word for helmet, to which the flower bears a vague resemblance.

Tulip gardening was a hobby of the rich and powerful in Turkey, considered both relaxing and spiritual, and especially favored by the sultans and grand viziers. Surprisingly, even though tulips extended west from Istanbul, the tulipmania of the 1630's in northern Europe did not occur in Turkey until the so-called "Tulip Period" in the early 18th C. Sultan Ahmet III among others was obsessed with gardens, tulips, and garden parties driving bulb prices to insane levels. Others with great interest included Admiral Mustafa Pasa who invented over 40 new tulip breeds.

The Tulip Period was one of relative peace for Turkey with an emphasis on art, culture, and architecture with a Baroque orientation derived from contact with the remainder of Europe. Crushing defeats in European battles late in this timespan brought increasing unrest and outrage against the excesses of the ruling classes and the government stepped in to control the tulip trade, ending the Tulip Period and royal foolishness. Tulips gradually disappeared from Istanbul life, only to be reborn in the last few years."
Info courtesy of the internet:
"THE CITY OF TULIPS" a Istanbul Travel Page by nicolaitan

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In Anticipation of Spring

The first day of spring is one thing,
and the first spring day is another.
The difference between them is
sometimes as great as a month.
Henry Van Dyke (1852–1933)

Our spring has come early. Edging up to near 60, sunny and it's mid-March! I noticed the tulips beginning to open up today. Much earlier than last year.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Daffodil name arrived in the English language around the 1500's. The old name for daffodil was Affodyle, Affodyle means that which cometh early.

According to Chinese legend, the daffodil is a symbol of good fortune. The daffodil is used as a symbol of the Chinese New Year and if a daffodil blooms in your garden on Chinese New Year’s Day, your house will have good fortune for the entire year.

Daffodil's are the floral symbol from the Cancer Society, standing for love, hope through the joy of sunshine.

I wander’d lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vale and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
host of golden daffodils:
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
by William Wordsworth

For an online analysis of the poem, click here.

For example, it says: The theme of the poem 'Daffodils' is a collection of human emotions inspired by nature that we may have neglected due to our busy lives. The daffodils imply rebirth, a new beginning for human beings, blessed with the grace of nature. The arrival of daffodils in the month of March is welcome and an enjoyable time to appreciate them!

Weather today - sunny, upper 50s.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ladybug, Ladybug

A ladybug on a hellebore or Christmas Rose / Lenten Rose. I bought the Hellebore at the Yard, Garden and Patio show. I was happy to see the ladybug!

From another website - Myths About Ladybugs In Culture

Forget about the stork! In Switzerland, children are sometimes told that they are brought to their parents by a ladybug. Good luck.

In Britain, farmers expect bountiful crops when many ladybugs are sighted in spring. In many cultures, the ladybug is seen as a symbol of good luck. Some even say that if you hold a ladybug in your hand and make a wish, the direction that the ladybug flies off to is the direction where your good fortune will come from.

In Belgium, it is believed that if a ladybug lands on a young woman’s hand, she’ll be married in a year. In Norway, there is a myth that if a man and a woman see a ladybug at the same time, they’ll fall in love.

A gift from the Gods. In Norse legend, the ladybug came to earth riding a lightning bolt. And in some Asian cultures, it is believed that the ladybug is blessed by God and understands human language.

Weather - this winter has been very mild - El Nino. In the 50s. Last 2 days beautiful, like spring, dry.