Sunday, May 20, 2018

Front Garden Poppies

Orange is not my favorite color, but I am happy to have orange poppies in my little front garden. They shoot up confidently, while the summer plants are still deciding whether they even like their surroundings. The poppy buds crack open like tardy Easter eggs, a hint of orange showing for a few hours. Then suddenly the crepe paper blossoms are waving in the breeze. When the afternoon sun slides down towards the horizon, the poppies put on a glorious show, posing like divas. This is when I enjoy them the most, in all their flamboyant orangeness. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Art Nouveau Buckle

Richmond’s Virginia Museum of Fine Arts boasts a world-class collection of Art Nouveau. Along with the Tiffany lamps and Mackintosh chairs, there is a selection of belt buckles from the collection assembled by Gisela and Karl Kreuzer. Why belt buckles? Belle Epoque women loved to highlight their tiny corseted waists. An elegant buckle was an accessory as necessary as a hat. This fine silver buckle, designed by Archibold Knox and sold at Liberty's in London, explains Art Nouveau in a few square inches: an asymmetrical arrangement of flowers and leaves with a tangle of whiplashing stems. It's a masterwork that deserves its place in a museum.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Spring Phlox

In the alleys and in overgrown corners of back yards, crowds of phlox find themselves free to rise up and open their flowers. Unlike their many-colored garden cousins, these wildflowers all choose to dress themselves in the same shade of magenta as the blossoming redbuds. The phlox are lovers of dappled light, gathering under trees that have not quite leafed out. I would like to see wild phlox blooming under some blooming redbuds, a sight that would distress those who think that magenta is a somewhat vulgar color. But the redbuds always seem to finish flowering at least a week ahead of the phlox. Enjoying the phlox lit by a shaft of afternoon sunlight is pleasure enough for any spring day.