Monday, March 21, 2011

home again

Spring break, n: school holiday or vacation occurring roughly during the middle of a spring academic term. In other words: the eye of the storm.

It is very sweet to be home. *sigh*

Yesterday I went to the Boston Flower Show with a good friend and fellow plant-lover, Emily. The Philadelphia Flower Show is heavy on spectacle and competitions, with less emphasis on inspiration and things real home gardeners can do. The Boston Flower Show has plenty of the latter two items. The theme was similarly not highfalutin': Container Gardening. How practical for the city dweller! I find this type of flower show more endearing and approachable. Though I don't think I am the type to join a Garden Club, as I shun competition when it regards things I truly love,* I respect garden clubs and think they are quite wonderful in an idealized small-town neighborly sort of way. 

Unfortunately, flower shows have hideous lighting which makes for bad photos. But here is a sample:
Delphiniums, juniper, pine, and white tulips, among other plants, in the Garden of the Treehouse

Monday, March 14, 2011

midterm week

On a bit of a hiatus this week, as the midterm crunch has descended. I will return next week with more photos. Meanwhile, look at this:
 A yellow lady slipper orchid, at the Philadelphia flower show. I'd never seen this species grown in a pot before. I love its graceful leaves.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Philadelphia Flower Show 2011

Let the kitsch-fest begin! A replica of one arch of the Eiffel Tower, at shrunken scale, looms ahead as you enter the show, surrounded by pink blooming cherry trees and tulips.
I am a sucker for flower shows. I love the combination of theatrical kitsch and delicate plants. I love the marvel of forcing all those plants on time, and then keeping them going indoors for two weeks (not to mention transporting them). Yes, it is probably a huge energy suck. Yes, not all of the plants make it to good homes afterwards. But it is a heaping dose of spring at a time of year when it seems to many as if spring is still far away (at least for Ithacans).

Monday, March 7, 2011

spring tease

It really is terribly ironic:  I drove south to Philadelphia hoping to find more springlike weather, and I found that in spades. What happens in Ithaca while I am gone? It snows, also in spades (shovel-fulls, to be precise). A foot and a half of heavy snow. Ugh. I should post a snow photo, to contrast with the spring-flower-filled photos below, but I don't want to give the snow any more publicity. Snow now completely covers the windows of my basement room, blocking out all but a thin, blue light. I want to flee again.

I am way too tired this evening to post anything more exciting, but I'll give you some eye candy.

They just look like they're singing, don't they? Since I recently posted some (comparatively thin and sad-looking) crocus photos, here is something different (not yet blooming in Ithaca, not for another month).

Winter aconite. I always forget the name of this flower, for some reason. Very sweet, with its little ruff of leaves.
photo credit: Kelly Shipman
Kelly snapped a photo of me taking a photo of the winter aconite. A characteristic pose, for me.

Souvenirs from the flower show, now decorating the bulletin board above my desk. I do not yet have a garden of my own (tragedy), so the seeds are for my parents. Other bulletin board accessories include a photo with friends from Senior Ball circa 2004, and the label of a mineral water from the town in Italy where I am returning at the beginning of April.
It was a wonderful weekend, all in all, and despite the snowy welcoming, I do feel invigorated, or I will right after I... zzzzz... snor... zzzz... wha... oh yes, hi. On Saturday, Kelly, Alice, and I roamed around Mt. Airy (me in cotton blouse and light jacket!), making highly satisfactory visits to the Trolley Car Diner (most impressive beer selection of any diner I've ever seen, wow), a yarn store, and a used-book shop, chronologically. I picked up some spicy red sock yarn and a lovely hardcover edition of The Annotated Alice in Wonderland, to replace my battered and coverless paperback version.
Last night in Philly it rained, hard, and the sound of the rain on the windows of Kelly's apartment made me feel cozy as we talked late into the night over mugs of tea. I am lucky to have such beautiful, intelligent friends and relations!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

blue memory

*Sigh*    No current flowers today, as it is much more wintry outside, with a stiff wind all day. Back to the memory files. This Campanula was growing wild along a rail-turned-trail in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, near the Bois de Boulogne, last summer. Mike and I had a wonderful picnic later that day, while watching a coot family build their nest.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

here they come!

Finally, the moment you've been waiting for: photos of flowers that I actually photographed today, outdoors, in Ithaca, NY. Sure, those little crocuses look a bit anemic, but they're doing the best they can!

Okay, okay, a bit of a caveat: there is a little hill on Tower Road (near the landscape architecture studio), between Garden Ave and East Ave, adjacent to the Azalea Garden, which seems to be sheltered enough that the snowdrops and crocuses bloom there first. A microclimate, perhaps. I've been keeping an eye on this hillside, and on my way to the library today noticed snowdrops poking through the leaves in between clumps of snow. I love the French name for snowdrop: perce-neige, which literally means "pierce snow." It evokes for me the feeling that this tiny plant is dealing a blow to winter. En garde, hiver! Le printemps avance!

As I was kneeling in the mud and leaves with my camera, I heard a shout from across the street. "Liz!" I turned. "Ha! I knew it was you," said my classmate Matt. "Who else would it be?"

Ha, it's true.