Human Flower Project
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Divided We Survive—Daylilies and More
In the U.S. now’s the time to divide perennials like Siberian iris and daylilies, to improve next spring’s flower display and butter up the neighbors too.
Gardening is social, because everybody got her plants from somebody else. If you’re lucky, you got some of yours for free, from a neighbor both generous and wise, somebody who notices how crowded daylily beds quit flowering. It’s share the wealth or lose it.
Today’s Washington Post offers good tips on dividing and transplanting perennials, with a focus on daylillies. Check it out, and then start digging or begging.
Passalong Plants is a good, breezy book on this subject, with color illustrations of the most common varieties shared across the Southern U.S.
Back in Kentucky, a popular passalong was Celandine Poppy, low-growing with rich yellow flowers. It’s one of the earliest spring bloomers in Louisville and Lexington. Friends back home call it “Peggy Poppy” because we all received our “starts” from Peggy Courtney, a beautiful lady who shared her plants with all of us. Peggy’s no longer with us, but her yellow flowers still bloom every early spring in Louisville yards and across the Bluegrass.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Permian Girls Steal Friday Night Lights
Students at Permian High School in Odessa, Texas, observed a riotous custom Friday, sporting gargantuan mums for the homecoming game September 17 vs. Amarillo.
Homecoming mums used to be fresh flowers but since the mid-1980s, fabric flowers have taken over, turning the once-ephemeral corsage into a trophy of one’s adolescence. These status symbols range in price from $25 up to more than $200, some bearing battery-operated lights and music boxes.
Permian High was the subject of H.G. Bissinger’s best seller Friday Night Lights. The movie version, starring Billy Bob Thornton, will be released in October. The real-life Permain Panthers, 3-0 for the season, beat Amarillo’s Sandies 41-17. but the real winners last Friday were the girls fortunate, bold and crazed enough to wear mums big enough to beat both football teams and both bands.
From Safe-Cracking to Rose-Feathering
A new Brit television show “Going Straight” sets up a group of ex-cons under the tutelage of a premiere floral designer.
Can flowers rehabilitate a criminal? “Going Straight,” a reality television show new this season in England, will test that question, or maybe it’s just a good excuse to snicker. Let’s watch a thug wire a rosebud.
Producers of the show say no. An article in the Guardian quotes the program’s executive producer, Hilary Rosen. “We wanted to look at why unemployment and reoffending are such a problem for people who have left prison,” she says. “But we wanted to do something positive - to offer people a chance to help themselves with advice and training.”
Six ex-offenders will work with floral designer Paula Pryke and a business consultant to set up a working shop by Mother’s Day, THE big day for florists in England. The show will track the difficulties ex-convicts face buckling down to an honest living and building public trust, as well as, presumably, keeping iris fresh longer than three days.
For Brits, the show can’t help but allude to “Buster” Edwards. Edwards participated in “The Great Train Robbery,” a notorious 1963 heist, when the Royal Mail Train was relieved of 2.5 million pounds. After his release from the penitentiary, Edwards quietly opened a flower shop outside the Waterloo station. As England’s “Bird Man of Alcatraz,” Edwards and his story intrigued the nation, a surreal combination of ruthless crime and delicate sensibility.
Good luck to the budding florists. Surely they know how Buster’s business ended. He was discovered hanging in his potting shed in 1994. Associates claimed that he’d been in on another string of train robberies, had come under suspicion, and couldn’t bear the idea of being locked up again.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Vietnamese Town Capitalizes on “Eternal Spring”
A city in Vietnam’s central highlands plans to open an international flower auction next year, another development in its longstanding romance-for-profit.
Beauty sells itself. Just ask anyone in the travel business who’s booked trips to Sevilla but not Malaga, Niagra Falls not Buffalo.
Just so, the city of Da Lat located 300 km from Ho Chi Minh City has long been a favorite destination of travelers in Vietnam. “Dotted with waterfalls, lakes and evergreen forests, (Da Lat) is often called the City of Eternal Spring and is a favourite spot for honeymoons.”
Asia Pulse reports today that Da Lat plans to build an international flower auction by next year, taking advantage of its year-round temperate climate and adding a pretty business to its architectural and natural attractions. Eco-tourism, it’s not just for Westerners, never has been.
Chinese flower growers and sellers have advanced this year, with exports up 15% in the period January-July, according to today’s Xinhua. And Asia Pulse reports: “Da Lat has recently sent officials to China to learn about organising flower shows.”