Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Detour

It was 50 years ago—the first date. High time for metaphysical stalking through a south London village.


House in Orpington

Photo: John Levett

By John Levett

On the first Sunday after Christmas 1960 I went on my first date. Her name was Jennifer and she lived in Orpington. Orpington, on the cusp of south London as it moves into Kent proper. It had nothing to distinguish itself then and it still doesn’t: a once-village into which, in the inter-war years, irrupted English Tudorbethan domestic housing as it did everywhere in the home counties. Full of bankers, shipping agents, insurance salesmen, commercial travellers voting for Baldwin, Chamberlain, a stake in ‘England’s Green and Pleasant Land’ and well away from hunger marchers and the Red Tide. Orwell’s ‘Coming Up For Air’ nails them; Orpington as Lower Binfield. Growing up I felt looked-down upon.

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Posted by Julie on 01/10 at 01:28 PM
Art & MediaGardening & LandscapeTravelPermalink

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Elvis: Rose Tonic and Floral Guitars

Radiance brings out the flowers. And the King of Rock and Roll was never shy about accepting a bloom or two.


Elvis Presley wearing one of many leis in his Aloha from Hawaii TV special, 1973

Back in the crew-cut, button-down early ‘50s, Elvis Presley wore pink suits and slicked his hair back with rose oil tonic. Oh, to have inhaled Beale Street back then!

The King broke so many of the rules of performance—mixing musical styles, straining fashion, flaunting androgeny—and most of his revolutions have been pressed forward by succeeding generations of entertainers. Yet in 2010 we still rarely see a man so comfortable with flowers. For the King’s 75th birthday, we’ve pulled together just a few souvenirs.

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Posted by Julie on 01/07 at 10:40 PM
Art & MediaCulture & SocietySecular CustomsPermalink

Monday, January 04, 2010

2010 Unfurls in India

Since wintertime is flower-rich in India, blooms are better than fireworks for the New Year’s holiday.

imageBouquet makers hustle to meet demand at Kolkata’s New Market New Year’s Eve

Photo: Sandy Ao

Christmas - yes. Valentine’s Day - Oh, yes. But, no, flowers are not a big part of New Year’s festivity in the U.S., where glittery sunglasses, champagne and bottle rockets prevail.

For floraphiles, the place to be is India. “Be it for decoration or gifting, flowers are in great demand all across the city,” writes an online paper from Chennai. Express Buzz calls New Year’s blossoms “an old concept” though we don’t know how old “that continues to find favour even today with masses and classes alike.” Consequently, the flower season in India runs from mid-December all the way through mid-February.

In Chennai, roses and gladioli have been somewhat displaced by carnations, orchids, and more exotic varieties of flowers – anthriums and “even tulips.” These rarer blooms, claims florist Uttem Kumar, “express the taste and status of the sender.”

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Posted by Julie on 01/04 at 12:45 PM
Culture & SocietyCut-Flower TradeFloristsSecular CustomsPermalink
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