Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Friday, April 27, 2012


More luscious than Penthouse, seed catalogues of the late 19th Century were designed to sell, and to procreate.

imageJohn Lewis Childs

seed packet

Floral Park, NY 1897

Smithsonian Institution

You don’t have to have a trowel, or a yard, much less green fingers or familiarity with pH and hardiness zones to come home with a seed packet.

Dig around in any drawer around here and you’ll find sweet pea, zinnia, and even proteas packets from years gone by. We keep on hand an envelope of edelweiss seed a friend brought back from Germany years ago just…, well, just because.

Seed packets contain promise, especially for those of us who know little or nothing about viability. They’re the proto-triumph of potential, miniature bulwarks against future gloom and deprivation. Maybe that’s why repositories of them are called “banks.”

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Posted by Julie on 04/27 at 03:29 PM
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How We Used to Be

Talking back to the past, John Levett owns up to an inner Constance Spry. Let’s continue, John, whenever, however. For what’s gone before, all thanks.


Bench at Letchworth Garden City

“Toward the Smell of Progress” (8/14/07)

Essay and photos by John Levett

There was a long-serving picture editor at Time-Life whose name I can’t recall. He wrote well and remembered every picture he came across. One of his best pieces was about the numbers who regularly sent him their snaps and, almost as a matter of course, expected an off-the-cuff portfolio review. He was politeness itself in responding briefly to the submissions whilst wishing that he could bring to these responses words along the lines of: ‘You have a fine photograph of the Washington Monument but I would venture that it lacks two essential components. The first is Martin Luther King and the other is half a million people.’

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Posted by Julie on 04/18 at 08:35 PM
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Seeing Another Day

Coming through last year’s weather misery, the winecups and daisies were casualties, but the garden bounces back.


2012: Louis Philippe (Betsy Pirie’s rose) April 15, Austin, TX, with Jerusalem sage and Desert Museum Palo Verde

All photos: Human Flower Project

About the only record keeping we do of the garden is a tax-day photo of one front bed with a close up of Louis Phillippe, a china rose.


2009: Louis Philippe (a.k.a. Betsy Pirie’s rose) April 15

This plant was passed along to us from Terry Childress, who took a cutting from the rose bush of beloved neighbor Betsy Pirie. We took out an Archduke Charles to make room for Betsy in 2009.

In 2010, fully a year after Stan Powers had worked his wonders in the yard, and thanks to a delicious rainy fall, it bloomed in concert with the bluebonnets.


2010: Louis Philippe (a.k.a. Betsy Pirie’s rose) April 15

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Posted by Julie on 04/16 at 05:28 PM
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Floral Trophies

Louisville was spared deadly weather but still broke records this spring with warm temperatures. Allen Bush shares the trophies.

imageAquilegia canadensis ‘Pink lanterns

Photo: Allen Bush

By Allen Bush

It’s been a record-breaking late winter and early spring in Kentucky. A tornado, the deadliest to hit the Ohio Valley since 1974, clobbered Henryville, Indiana. We spent a couple of hours in the basement on March 2nd under tornado watch but were spared the eight twisters that churned a path from southern Indiana to eastern Kentucky. These storms, with violent winds and hail the size of soft balls, put everyone on edge. But we got off easy.

The other fixation was University of Kentucky’s 8th collegiate basketball championship. Though record-breaking weather never gets a trophy presentation, it’s big news when the weather veers toward extremes. In Louisville this March, the prize went neither to tornadoes nor hail but to much warmer weather.

Instead of daytime temperatures in the 50s and 60s, we had nine days with summer-like heat in the 80s. You had to hold onto your hat to keep-up with the flurry of blooms. There hasn’t been a trace of frost since March 10th.  The luscious blooms of Asian saucer and star Magnolias usually turn brown when they are routinely hit by a March freeze, but not this year, nor for the last three years, which must be a record. They were stunning this spring but had to hurry through flowering to make way for the rest of the floral parade.


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Posted by Julie on 04/12 at 01:48 PM
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