Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


May Day honors workers in Greece, but it also occasions flower picking and wreath making, an old custom from the days when everyone was a worker.


Children in Crete collect flowers to fashion into wreaths, May 1.

Photo: Brent Scheneman

Protomagia is Greek even we can understand. It’s the celebration of May 1st – the peak of spring wildflower season there.

In Crete, and other parts of Greece too, the day draws people out of doors to pick blooms and turn them into wreaths that will hang on and about doorways for the next several weeks.

Effusive blogger Sunny Fotini  writes that Protomagia is a “day off for everybody.” (It’s also the national Labor Day holiday.) “We did what our ancestors did thousands years ago,” writes Sunny. “Celebrate the Mother Nature!”

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Posted by Julie on 05/01 at 12:58 PM
Culture & SocietySecular CustomsPermalink

Friday, April 27, 2012


More luscious than Penthouse, seed catalogues of the late 19th Century were designed to sell, and to procreate.

imageJohn Lewis Childs

seed packet

Floral Park, NY 1897

Smithsonian Institution

You don’t have to have a trowel, or a yard, much less green fingers or familiarity with pH and hardiness zones to come home with a seed packet.

Dig around in any drawer around here and you’ll find sweet pea, zinnia, and even proteas packets from years gone by. We keep on hand an envelope of edelweiss seed a friend brought back from Germany years ago just…, well, just because.

Seed packets contain promise, especially for those of us who know little or nothing about viability. They’re the proto-triumph of potential, miniature bulwarks against future gloom and deprivation. Maybe that’s why repositories of them are called “banks.”

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Posted by Julie on 04/27 at 03:29 PM
Art & MediaCulture & SocietyGardening & LandscapePermalink

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How We Used to Be

Talking back to the past, John Levett owns up to an inner Constance Spry. Let’s continue, John, whenever, however. For what’s gone before, all thanks.


Bench at Letchworth Garden City

“Toward the Smell of Progress” (8/14/07)

Essay and photos by John Levett

There was a long-serving picture editor at Time-Life whose name I can’t recall. He wrote well and remembered every picture he came across. One of his best pieces was about the numbers who regularly sent him their snaps and, almost as a matter of course, expected an off-the-cuff portfolio review. He was politeness itself in responding briefly to the submissions whilst wishing that he could bring to these responses words along the lines of: ‘You have a fine photograph of the Washington Monument but I would venture that it lacks two essential components. The first is Martin Luther King and the other is half a million people.’

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Posted by Julie on 04/18 at 08:35 PM
Art & MediaGardening & LandscapePoliticsPermalink

Monday, April 16, 2012

Seeing Another Day

Coming through last year’s weather misery, the winecups and daisies were casualties, but the garden bounces back.


2012: Louis Philippe (Betsy Pirie’s rose) April 15, Austin, TX, with Jerusalem sage and Desert Museum Palo Verde

All photos: Human Flower Project

About the only record keeping we do of the garden is a tax-day photo of one front bed with a close up of Louis Phillippe, a china rose.


2009: Louis Philippe (a.k.a. Betsy Pirie’s rose) April 15

This plant was passed along to us from Terry Childress, who took a cutting from the rose bush of beloved neighbor Betsy Pirie. We took out an Archduke Charles to make room for Betsy in 2009.

In 2010, fully a year after Stan Powers had worked his wonders in the yard, and thanks to a delicious rainy fall, it bloomed in concert with the bluebonnets.


2010: Louis Philippe (a.k.a. Betsy Pirie’s rose) April 15

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Posted by Julie on 04/16 at 05:28 PM
Gardening & LandscapePermalink
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