Human Flower Project
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Root, Flower, for the Cardinals
Few businesses offer the amenity of fresh flowers. One St. Louis restaurant owner holds firm, and buys the blossoms every week himself.
Always packed, and ever with fresh flowers, Charlie Gitto’s is a downtown institution in St. Louis, Missouri
Photo: Human Flower Project
Following flowers this year has led us to follow baseball – thanks to Charlie Gitto, we have a team.
Charlie operates two well known Italian restaurants in St. Louis and for the past thirty years has bought the establishments’ fresh flowers himself. We wound up at his downtown spot thanks to the recommendation of a friendly custodian at Busch Stadium. There actually aren’t too many restaurants open in this part of the inner city at night, so we were thrilled to find Charlie Gitto’s on North 6th Street, a healthy but easy walk from our hotel.
There was a short wait, but we settled into the pretty old foyer – tile floor and lots of polished wood. There was a big vase of gladiolas on the counter just inside the door and, of course, the game was on TV. We looked up at scores of framed photographs of baseball heroes, musicians, pols, and the Budweiser clydesdales, all posing with the same mustachioed gentleman – the fellow who happened to be sitting at the end of the bar watching the game.
“I buy go to the flower market every week,” Charlie told us proudly. There he picks up enough stems for the tables and a big bouquet up front, plus “two dozen white roses for my daughter.” (St. Louis still has a busy downtown flower market on the 2700 block of La Salle Street. You can watch a youtube about the market here.)
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Matchmaking on the Wedding Day
Georgia Silvera Seamans and other family members of a lucky bride and groom take on a human flower project the morning of a summer wedding.
For a Pittsburgh wedding the bride’s mother, a professional florist, guided the other women-relatives in making bouquets for the whole wedding party
Photo: Joe Seamans
I had watched my mother make bouquets for my brother’s wedding and even helped to wrap the stems, but I had never constructed a wedding bouquet on my own.
This gap in my resume was filled at the wedding of a cousin-in-law this August. A cousin of my husband’s was marrying the daughter of a floral designer. Not only is the bride’s mother a working florist, she’s a great teacher. She and the mother of the groom organized a bouquet-making class for the women relatives to take place the morning of the wedding. (Prior days’ activities had included cookie making and Bollywood dancing lessons at the bride’s mehndi—though the bride is not of Indian descent).
Sunday, October 04, 2009
Spanish Moss…You Don’t Say!
A Southern Belle changed the rules of radio and put seven wispy seconds between “live” and “broadcast.”
Tillandsia usneoides - Spanish moss— sways from oaks
on St. Simons Island, Georgia
Photo: Allen Bush
By Allen Bush
The thin, dangling, curly wisps of gray Spanish Moss draped over huge branches of multi-trunked live oaks (Quercus virginiana) are a stunning landscape feature of the southern U.S. coastal low country. But walking in the beautiful squares of Savannah, Georgia, last week and driving along roadways on Sea Island and Jekyll Island, I kept thinking of Kentucky radio reporter Fred Wiche. Few know that Spanish moss—neither a moss nor lichen, but an epiphytic bromeliad, relative of pineapple—changed radio protocol forever far inland, in my hometown of Louisville.
I got very confused on Wiche’s Saturday morning radio show in September 1994. I blame it on Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides). I was sitting four feet across the table from the beloved WHAS radio personality. We were talking about powdery mildew on phlox. The trouble was I was hearing him again through the ear piece on a small, radio walkman that he had handed me just before the show began. The annoying echo of my own response—seven seconds later – was driving me nuts. At the first break, I asked what was going on. Fred muttered something about Spanish moss. He said I was doing fine and he’d explain at the end of the program.
Fred broadcast the “Weekend Gardener” remotely each week from his back deck, overlooking the orchard, vegetables and flowers on his beautiful farm near Simpsonville, south of Louisville. Fred and I chatted on the air about durable perennials for the Ohio Valley and callers asked good questions. I never got adjusted to the weird echo. I was listening to the radio while he was tuned into the studio’s direct feed. He wasn’t bothered by the seven second delayed re-play.
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Dussehra: Tools of Life
On the Hindu festival Dussehra, every implement or conveyance that helps someone make a living gets recognition—a garland of marigolds.
A bicycle, honored as a part of one Mumbai citizen’s
livelihood, on the festival of Dussehra
Photo: Anil P.
We’re late for the party – and we’re also 8300 miles away. So forgive and enjoy our overdue tribute to an auspicious Hindu holiday, observed Monday, September 28th this year.
Our friend in Delhi, Lubna Kably, notified us the day-of in tactful and globally-sensitive verb tenses (in Austin, we’re some 12 hours behind): “Today was Dussehra,” wrote Lubna. “Hindus adorn their cars and other equipment with flowers and worship them. Unfortunately, don’t have photographs to share.”
Sharing the information was and is plenty, Lubna! It sent us onto the time-blind info highway, where we arrived at Anil P’s “windy skies.” Anil provides a rickshaw by rickshaw, garland by garland account of Dussehra in Mumbai.