Spanish Bluebells with Japanese Azalea

Spanish bluebell with azalea

Some plants are so companionable, it’s rare to find one growing wild without the other. Daisies, clover, dandelions and buttercups would be one example from Lancashire; nettles and blackberries, another.

While azaleas and bluebells can flower together, it’s not considered a classic pairing. They remind me of a friend who, on learning that my sweetheart and I were a couple, observed that was “a cosmic joke on the universe.”

That may seem a bit off, but he was merely saying out loud what others have thought. I was an English person (i.e. from a country where a newspaper headline can scream ‘Killer Heatwave – temperatures reach 85°F!’) visibly wilting in a pink silk dress in a Dallas garden in the afternoon sun. Wilting is the euphemism: sweating, more accurate. My sweetheart? Well, if you know him, you can insert your own description here. If not, anything I might say is inadequate. Suffice to say he’s got Mississippi mud on his boots and does not wilt at 85°.

Since then, I’ve met hundreds of people (no exaggeration) who tell me how amazing it must be to have him as a partner, and they are right. ‘Never a dull moment?’ they’ll confidently say. I generally confirm that with a smiling nod. They are wrong. We all have dull moments, but they are like leaving a space in the garden where butterflies can swoop.

I joke that my (vertical) frown lines seem a bit lighter since meeting him well over a decade ago, but have been replaced by (horizontal) astonishment lines.

There are oops! moments aplenty. He made his ‘famous home-made cinnamon toast’ today in nostalgic celebration of childhood breakfasts after warning, ‘You ain’t gonna like it’. Toasted one side only, the dozen raisins balanced on the toasted side wobbled as the plate was offered, making me smile. The recipe used similar ingredients to the pobbies and bread and butter puddings my sister and I ate as children. As so often, not a culture shock, but a culture recognition – yes, this was what it was like back then. Simpler. Sweeter.

Not quite as he remembered though, somehow, so he set out to work out what had gone wrong (‘needs more sugar, perhaps?’). Eventually he listed the ingredients out loud, and I added, ‘and cinnamon, of course?’

He put his hand to his head as recognition struck – he’d absentmindedly used ginger instead. A botanical discussion ensued about how cassia cinnamon is worse for us and harsher tasting than the true Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum), punctuated with giggles about the cinnamon toast that wasn’t, but had been easily set right with a good sprinkling of cinnamon.

A cosmic joke? I’d say not, but there’s plenty of laughter.

Shared for Cee’s Flower of the Day.

21 Replies to “Spanish Bluebells with Japanese Azalea”

  1. Absolutely loved this post for so many reasons! I’m just today digging some extra bluebell bulbs to spread to friends who admired the
    e flowers yesterday in an arrangement on my kitchen table.

  2. I consider “a cosmic joke on the universe” not only hilarious but also congratulatory. How else could you deduce together the absence of cinnamon on cinnamon toast? Of course I had to look up pobbies. What a great name. Thanks for a most interesting post on “classic pairing.”

    1. Pobbies is a good name. It was made in a mug on cold days and very comforting. We had cinnamon tea too. That was cinnamon in milk, probably with sugar.

  3. And there was me thinking ‘what a striking combination!’ I guess that would do as well. Thank you for richly entertaining me. I hope temperatures aren’t too wilt making right now.

  4. I loved your story, Susan. It is shared moments like this that make a relationship so “sweet.” My grandma used to butter white bread, sprinkle it with sugar and cut it into one inch wide strips. I felt like royalty.

    1. We never had sugar butties, but some of my school friends used to talk about them. I can imagine them being a fond memory.

    1. They do work surprisingly well. It’s always hard to capture the blue colour in a bluebell. My Spanish ones always come out looking more pink than they are to the eye, but any pinkness is lost in comparison with the azalea.

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