Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Name that Bloom


A mystery….

From a kind reader in Portugal this morning:

I admire your Human flower project immensely, can you please help me to identify this flower.



Thank you, Rosa. We admire your photograph immensely and confess we’ve never seen anything quite like this. Very electric—brainy.

Could the botanists please step in here? Not sure whether Rosa’s flower is Portuguese, but we’ll send this off to our friends at Dias com Arvores to eyeball, and to Daniel Mosquin of the UBC Botanical Garden’s Botany Photo of the Day. He’s seen it all.

Were we “the decider” we’d call it Fizzo. We’re not. So the search is on….

Posted by Julie on 10/26 at 02:15 PM
EcologyGardening & LandscapeSciencePermalink

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Wherefore Game Four?

The Tigers and Cardinals appear to be rained out: a win for flower fans.

It’s raining in Austin, a bona fide soaker of a blessing, since we’ve been eight inches below normal most of the summer and fall. And it’s raining in St. Louis, too. Sorry, baseball fans.


Ball One in Chiba, Japan

Photo: Marinerds

We offer consolation via Deanna Rubin, a self-proclaimed “Marinerd” (fanatical follower of Seattle’s team). Deanna spotted and snapped this floral tribute to a similarly named Japanese team, the Chiba Lotte Marines, in 2004 “near Chiba Marine Stadium.”

We understand that this region south of Tokyo is noted for its flower production  and lovely gardens,          as St. Louis is noted for its arch, Detroit its cars, and Seattle its rain.

Posted by Julie on 10/25 at 09:04 PM
Cut-Flower TradeFloristsSecular CustomsPermalink

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Knockout in Kentucky

A fall blooming rose has the Bluegrass State dizzy.


Pink Knock Out roses and topiary

at Ashland’s garden, Lexington, KY

Photo: Julie Ardery

“The Lousville Lip,” Muhammad Ali, just may have been outdone, not by another boxer but a fall blooming rose called Knock Out. We’re back from the Blue Grass state, where typically roses are over and done by October. Not so this year. All across Louisville and Lexington, we saw this hardy shrub in full bloom.

You serious rosarians are no doubt letting out a yawn about now, because Knock Out was introduced six years ago and, it seems, has been the heavyweight champ of Autumn ever since. We understand that William Radler of the Chicago Botanic Garden developed this shrub. ”Mr. Radler germinated the first Knock Out seed in his basement during the winter of 1988-89, and that spring he planted the small shrub outside in his garden. The following 11 years were spent overseeing bud grafting, testing and production of more stock. The rose was offered to the All America Rose Selections committee and declared a winner in 1997.” In 2000, the buying public entered the ring with Knock Out,  250,000 plants’ worth.

imageReds at Morton Middle School

Lexington, KY, Oct. 21, 2006

Photo: J. Ardery

Here’s a rave review of the pink variety. We spotted several in full bloom at the beautful gardens of Ashland, former home of Henry Clay, in Lexington on a visit this past weekend with fellow White Flagger Cyndy Clark. In her own garden Cyndy has a magnificent red and a pink Knock Out that have grown like mad. “But they’re not REAL roses,” she says, preferring the company of Yves St. Laurent and her other hybrid teas.

Perhaps Knock Out is a variety for gardeners more like us: i.e. lazy. Here are some testimonials and yet more press about what a cinch it is. “Knockout rose maintenance is as close as you will get to a ‘plant it and forget it’—we promise!” (Real gardeners, of course, have no desire to “forget it.”)

By far, most of the praise for this tough shrub seems to come out of the southern and midwestern regions of the U.S. Please let us know if Knock Out is throwing any punches where you are.



Posted by Julie on 10/24 at 05:02 PM
Gardening & LandscapePermalink

Sunday, October 22, 2006

‘Let Her Dream, for She’s a Child’

‘Wildflower’ by two Canadians ‘still rings in midnight silence’ (whatever that means).


Skylark, 1972

Photo: David Foster net

One of our many guilty pleasures is a gushy ballad from 1972: ‘Wildflower” by one-hit-wonder band Skylark of Victoria, Canada.

“She’s faced the hardest times

you could imagine….”

Brimming with echoes, harpstrings, and a twangy reverb guitar solo, it never fails to thrill, a throwback to muttonchops and nights of AM radio. OKAY, so strangle us with macrame’!

The lyrics were written by Dave Richardson, then a young policeman in Saanich, Canada. He explains:

“In 1970 I was dating a nurse, whom I would eventually marry in 1971….  One night I went to pick her up at her apartment, as we had planned on going out. When she opened the door I saw that she was upset to the point of tears. She still had a housecoat on and had her hair wrapped in a towel after a shower. She told me that two elderly ladies she had been caring for in the hospital had died that day at work, and she felt terribly sad about it, as she had come to know them fairly well over a period of time. Anyway, she more or less vented her feelings and I just listened.

“After she was finished, she thanked me for listening, and said she would get ready for our date. She went into the bedroom and closed the door, and I sat and watched TV waiting for her to come out. When she didn’t return, I knocked on the door but she didn’t answer, so I went in to find her fast asleep on the bed, still in her housecoat and with the towel still wrapped around her head. I guess she was just exhausted after her emotional day. So, I put a blanket over her, being careful not to wake her, and went home and wrote the song in about fifteen minutes.”

“Be careful how you touch her

for she’ll awaken

for sleep’s the only freedom

that she knows

and when you look into her eyes

you won’t believe

the way she’s always payin’

for a debt she never owes

and the silent wind still blows

that only she can hear

and so she goes….”

Recently, we were out in California among some of our folklorist heroes and heroines, people who collect Wobbly anthems and songs from coal miners’ picket lines. After reading this interview with Dave Richardson, we think “Wildflower” is a labor song, too, the poem of a cop in love with a hard-working nurse,

“Wildflower” has been covered by such Masters of Uncool as Johnny Mathis and Aaron Neville. We like the original version most. Richardson recounts that the spooky, slow-hand guitar solo that begins the song was Doug Edwards’ practice riff that a smart engineer managed to record. Edwards wrote the tune.

In case you’ve forgotten the song, hang on to your love beads—here’s how it opens

Posted by Julie on 10/22 at 10:21 PM
Art & MediaPermalink
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