Human Flower Project
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
The Floral Side of Bob Dylan
Usually posed behind dark glasses, in railyards or on gritty streets, Dylan typically kept his distance from flowers, until he just couldn’t stand it anymore.
Bob Dylan with flowered hat
Rolling Thunder Revue, c. 1975
Photo: via cold splinters
Bob Dylan has outlasted so many nicer guys, better songwriters, Townes Van Zant, Tim Hardin, Steve Goodman – to name just three. Sorry. Comparisons aren’t fair, or very nice, for that matter, on somebody’s birthday. Happy 70th, Bob!
Our birthday wishes for you: a sense of humor and a better shtick than aloofness-as-significance. At 70, aloof looks way too much like demented.
We do revere many of his songs, though “his” belongs in scare quotes: Dylan borrowed lots of lyrics and tunes from old time folk, country and blues music. But who can hold that against him? Bards will be bards. They’ve always snagged whatever they loved, claiming it was only something “blowing in the wind.”
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Japan ~ U.S.A.: Dogwood Solidarity
Masashi Yamaguchi returns to report on how the dogwood tree has brought Transpacific gratitude and sympathy. Thank you, Masashi!
Dogwood blossom manhole cover, Minato-ku, Tokyo
By Masashi Yamaguchi
Several years ago, in an article on Japanese cherry blossom trees for Human Flower Project. I wrote that the Japanese government had utilized these trees for promoting international friendship. In 1912, the governor of Tokyo sent 3,000 cherry blossom trees to Washington, D.C., as a token of friendship between Japan and the United States.
Actually the story continued: then-president Howard Taft and his wife Helen sent 50 dogwood trees in return three years later. They were planted as roadside trees and spread all over Japan.
I have heard that dogwood is the state flower of Virginia. It blooms in early May and its flower has four petals (exactly, they are not petals but leaves for decorating real small green flowers). Its habitat is humid places so it needs more water to grow compared with other trees; thus it is called “HANAMIZUKI” (= flowering water tree) in Japanese.
Culture & Society • Gardening & Landscape • Politics • Secular Customs • Permalink
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Species Roses ~ Early Birds
John Levett’s name is on Hitchen Cup, but eyes, hands, and mind are on this spring’s old roses. Thank you, and congratulations, John!
The best year ever for Rose hugonis ‘Cantabrigiensis’
Photo: John Levett
By John Levett
If a man cannot enjoy the return of spring, why should he be happy in a labour-saving Utopia?… I think that by retaining one’s childhood love of such things as trees, fishes, butterflies and…toads, one makes a peaceful and decent future a little more probable. —“Some Thoughts on the Common Toad”
I think someday I should write a piece on Orwell and nature. My forever-favourite of Orwell’s writings is ‘Coming Up for Air’ with its prosaic opening: “The idea really came to me the day I got my new false teeth.” There begins his journey back to Lower Binfield of his childhood “… before the radio, before aeroplanes, before Hitler.” I’m sure Orwell included much of his own childhood in these passages, particularly the fishing memories.
I was reminded of Orwell’s domestic routines by the recent publication of Peter Davison’s editions of Orwell’s diaries and letters. I still cherish memories of the first publications edited (stringently) by Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus of his collected essays, journalism and letters from the sixties, each volume bought at birth with the ink still tacky. Davison’s are more comprehensive and don’t spare us Orwell’s flaws.
Art & Media • Culture & Society • Gardening & Landscape • Permalink
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Macy’s Uppity Flower Show
Georgia Silvera Seamans takes us on a multigenerational visit to the Macy’s spring Flower Show, an adventure in verticality and exuberance.
Above the Fray—one of the “towering’ floral displays at this year’s Macy’s Flower Show in New York
Photo: Georgia Silvera Seamans, Local Ecologist
The Macy’s Flower Show began as a “fragrance festival” at the Union Square Macy’s in San Francisco. That was in 1946. In 1953, the first official Macy’s Flower Show was held at the Herald Square Macy’s in New York City. Between 1966 and 1973, the NYC show was not held due to the high cost of “maintaining cut flowers,” but the show returned in 1974 with potted flowers, a less expensive option.
This year’s theme was “Towers of Flowers,” which meant many of the gardens were displayed above eye level: a good way to keep visitors’ fingers off the displays but not so “handy” for seeing plants.