Spiderwort is not spider plant nor spider flower. If not, what is its relation with spiders? None! However, after a closer inspection of the open spiderwort blooms, we might find some justification for the common name of Tradescantia x andersoniana, just in the middle of each of them - a tuft of downy hairs, a straightforward (or farfetched) resemblance to a delicate spiderweb. Anyone who dreads looking at spiders will probably willingly accept another interpretation, e.g., a delicate cosmetic brush. This one is much closer to beauty than spiders are and definitely exposes better the somewhat modest assets of this charming yet underestimated perennial: decorative leaves, profuse flowering and exceptional durability.
Maybe not of wisdom itself but definitely of someone who is said to have been extremely wise: Solomon. And here the puzzle begins. Why should a rhizomatous plant have anything in common with one of the most reverenced biblical figures who "the whole world sought audience with to hear the wisdom God had put in Solomon's heart"? Nobody knows. There are more or less plausible explanations why, and the more we try to understand the mystery the more we want to have that symbol of sagacity in our garden. It does not hurt to grow something so closely related to that noble quality, does it? And the appearance of the plant perfectly matches its symbolic meaning for in the case of Polygonatum, both the wisdom and beauty reside in one home.
For my Mother
Flowering Cherries... I find it very hard to choose the right words to begin this post with. If you would like to experience what it means to become speechless with wonder and disbelief, there is no better way than to glance at a Japanese Cherry in bloom. Having done that, try to utter a sentence, a phrase or even a single word if you can. This is exactly the way I feel right now searching for expressions that do not exist. A blissful state of lexical inability.
I was lucky though; I got help from Sonja Varga, a young Croatian girl, who wrote a beautiful haiku, surely impressed by the same source of the incriminating amazement. Let me quote her verse: "As if there were/no other blossoms/- a cherry in bloom." Sonja is so right. When ornamental cherries bloom, the rest of the world transforms into a mere background, and I know why: it simply becomes speechless! With wonder and disbelief!
...as it is poetically put by Khalil Gibran in his evergreen -just like myrtle itself- book: The Prophet. A valuable and aromatic lesson of unconditional giving, whose only aim is to offer. The list of what myrtle has to give or secure is far, far longer. I am positive it must be a real burden for the plant to be sacred and responsible for immaculate love and immortality. In between these two, since time immemorial, the myrtle twigs have been supposed to assert the virginity of the bride as an essential condition to the future and rightful fertility of the newlyweds and their happy marriage. Myrtle is a symbol of fame, joy and triumph as well as peace, stability and empathy. My question is: why is it so rarely cultivated nowadays? Can we really do without myrtle and its magic? I doubt it.
Still labelled in various catalogues as speciality tree which usually reads as rare, unknown, uncommon or unimportant. I hope my interpretation is wrong. But to see Malus tschonoskii in gardens or parks is a rare view because this exceptionally ornamental tree is quite unknown. While its spectacular orange, red and bronze leaves in the autumn are truly uncommon, I keep asking myself this question: why has it been of little importance to us? I do not know the answer although I have my suspicions. Maybe the fact that Malus tschonoskii isa real apple tree we sort of expect beautiful flowers and edible or at least brightly coloured little apples. Who wants to grow an apple tree for leaves? Well, I am sure everybody providing they see Chonosuki crab clad in royal reds and purples every fall. The view is breathtaking! And that's it!
St. Augustine believed that "He that is not jealous is not in love". In my opinion this brave observation justifies a lot of situations whose justification seems to be -at the minimum- problematic. That was the famous case of Othello, who probably spent too much time reading St. Augustine's Confessions without due reflection and later did what he did to poor Desdemona, taking her life away out of love, of course!
The names of both tragic heroes have been given to a pair of beautiful flowering perennials whose yellow and orange flowers might stir jealous -like emotions in everyone who happens to see the cultivars in full bloom. It is one of that rare cases when jealousy is thoroughly accounted for unless it leads to strangulation of anyone. Now, having been warned, you can rush to a garden center and look for the most trustful Othello despite the obvious oxymoron heard in this description.
I think, I dreamed of falling leaves,
Of dark forests and dark lakes,
Of sad words' echo -
However, I could not understand their meaning.
I think, I dreamed of falling stars,
Of the weeping entreaty of pale eyes,
Of a smile's echo -
However, I could not understand its meaning.
Like falling leaves, like falling stars,
So I saw myself eternally coming and going,
A dream's immortal echo -
However, I could not understand its meaning.
I am positive that even the silky touch of a trap does not make the experience of being trapped enjoyable. Every garden is full of hardworking spiders building their silky webs non-stop. And they catch whatever can be caught crating new surprising dimensions in the architecture of a plant and garden as well. Wilted flowers or dry leaves caught in mid-air not to mention poor insects. Some spider webs show a striking resemblance to the wooly or hairy flower structures we can now observe while having a walk in the country side. The source of inspiration seems to be the same although the objectives are totally different. Among the pictures in the slideshow presenting spider webs are six illustrations of innocent plants. Try to find them while listening to one of the best - if not the best- Queen of the Night sung by Zdzisława Donat. The queen is trying to catch her own daughter in the trap of vicious feelings and her voice is pure silk!
"Embroidered in a tapestry of green
Among the textures of a threaded garden,
The gesturing lady and her paladin
Walk in a path where shade and sunlight harden..."
Adrienne Rich (Design in Living Colors)
Leaves, leaves , leaves... . All sorts of shapes, textures, colours, sizes and smells. And tastes! Usually outshone by spectacular flowers their beauty requires more attention and time. Watching leaves is like breathing in fresh air. Watching leaves is like meditation.
I was destined to be born gardener. In order to become a professional one I had to enjoy years of studying at various schools and universities... read more