Sunday, May 28, 2023

Love In a Mist

 Could there be a more perfectly and romantically named flower that Love In a Mist? The blossoms seem to float in a cloud of delicate leaflets. A member of the buttercup family, the true petals are tiny and barely noticeable. The pastel "petals" are actually bracts, the same botanical trick that poinsettias use. The botanic name, Nigella Damascena, reveals its origins and also that it is the source of nigella seeds, a component of many Middle Eastern and Indian dishes. Those soured on romance (and perhaps cooking as well) have their own nickname for this plant: Devil In the Bush.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Accidental Art

 The plastic covering the work table showed clear evidence of a vigorous painting session. Edge-to-edge, use the big brush with gusto painting, probably the base layer for whatever was to come after those colors were dry on the papers. But look at those colors! Feel the rhythm of those black lines, a tiny, unintentional echo of Duchamp's "Nude Descending a Staircase." It's the movement, along with the colors, that had me stopping to appreciate a piece of plastic.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

After the Petals Fall

 A rose in full bloom is an ephemeral thing. We enjoy the colors and scents, as do the bumblebees. Then the petals drop. This is the time to  enjoy the next stage of the Queen of Plants. The shrub is studded with small, sturdy stars, each one perfect in its geometry without the help of a compass or protractor.  Those stars are the sepals that protected the bud. Look closely at the tiny hairs and delicate shading the circlet of black-dashed anthers and the central stigma that echoes the color of the fallen petals. Pause for just a minute and discover a miniature world of textures and colors.

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Snowbells Overhead

 First the Japanese snowbell tree leafed out, a study in green. Then each branch developed rows of pendulous buds, like tiny Christmas ornaments. I visited my neighbor’s back garden a couple times each week and we speculated on when they would turn into bells. Now, when we stand under the tree and look straight up, we see stars everywhere in a green sky. From a distance, it really does look like the tree is full of little bells. They flutter and sway in the wind, yellow stamens soundless inside the bells. For me, it’s a magical first-time discovery, For my neighbor, it’s a welcome ritual of spring.