Happiness In A Vase: Zinnias

Bunch of zinnias

This sweet little posy of zinnias was all the nicer for being a gift from Jim Rosenblatt. His official title may be Dean Emeritus of The Mississippi College School of Law, but he wears the unofficial title of Plant Enthusiast with the same self-depreciation and benevolent good nature.

Several years ago, he created a cutting / kitchen garden in an unused corner of the faculty’s parking lot. The soil is rich and crumbly now, after years of being tended, making the plot very productive. These zinnias were freshly gathered from there.

I wonder how many other people have benefitted from gifts of peppers, tomatoes, herbs and flowers from his car park plot? Many more will have their day brightened by spotting this city centre garden as they passed.  Continue reading

Listening To A Riff; Capturing A Moment

The Two Hats Blues Band

Music makes me happy, and live music can be the best of all. I’m fascinated to watch musicians listen to each other on stage as they take turns to riff. It’s one of many added benefits of live music.

You’ll see all degrees of listening – in-the-mood in the main, but also respect, surprise, the odd wince, right through to definitely-thinking-about-something-else. Naming no names, of course, for civility’s sake. In most cases they’ve heard it all before, often.

I loved how these blues players listened with intensity, as if they were hearing each other play for the first time. The stage lights had simplified their colours to blues and magentas and the steel guitar had become abstract, rippling gold.  Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Temporary Plants

A leafy plant with purple and silver striped leaves

When I first started gardening, it was in a garden that was so big, it seemed to eat up plants. The broad expanses of clay soil, hospitable enough with plenty of leaf mould and grit dug in, were insatiable. Had this been a boarding house for plants, a jaunty ‘Vacancies’ sign would have been permanently on display.

I could order a whole box of bare roots, at considerable cost, but they seemed to melt away in the garden’s expanse. Three would go here, and three more there; a choice plant by the gate so you were bound to appreciate it; a few more in the main borders and underneath the canopies of trees, but the box was soon, sadly, emptied and the garden seemed virtually as open as it had been before.

Luckily I like propagating – splitting plants, growing from seed – so that was OK. But I developed the habit of not liking annuals. Annuals were a waste. Mere temporary fixes. Their gap of land would still be a gap in a year’s time – in five years or twenty – if ‘real’ plants were not put there instead.  Continue reading

Another Colchicum Autumnale

Bold pink colchicum

Couldn’t resist sharing this picture of a potted colchicum, part of East Ruston’s extensive collection, even though I just learned that they are highly toxic plants. Even worse, their leaves can be confused with wild garlic, which tends to grow in the same areas. So, unlike many poisonous plants which have the potential to harm, but are never ingested, colchicums have been documented to kill.   Continue reading

Two Orange Lilies: Double Tiger Lily and Lilium ‘Orange Art’

Bright orange lily with darker markings

Cee Neuner is sharing a flower with something orange in it every day in October, so I thought I’d join her by sharing these lilies. The first ones are an Asiatic lily, Lilium ‘Orange Art’, displayed as cut flowers at a flower show. Pictured on the last day, they seem the perfect choice for the rigours of a show – resplendent, perfect, and sturdy. The lights in the marquee gave the markings a pronounced purple glow.  Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spaceship Earth

A globe shaped structure towers above palm trees

Early evening light has a magical effect on Epcot’s Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth is a memorable experience, even if you just walk past it as we did. I later learned that the cladding is not just visually fascinating, it’s designed to collect any rainwater that falls on the globe so it can be recycled.

Shared for the weekly photo challenge: rounded (although you might say rounded is an understatement!)

An English Rose: Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration’

A pink, multi-petalled rose in a sunny garden

Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration’ displays its many petals against a floral backdrop

I’m surprised to find out this is the first time I’ve blogged about one of my favourite rose varieties. Some roses are easier to photograph than others. This is the only picture I have that I like of this one. Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration’ is luminous. Photograph it in flat light and you risk losing the joy.

The main bloom is as big as my hand and deeper than I can cup my fingers. The sheeny quality of the petals and their highlights and lowlights of pink and peach create an inner glow. The garden context glows too, adding that all’s well with the world feeling.   Continue reading