Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Angel In The House

I cannot say enough good about the after-Christmas sale bin at the Agway. It is especially productive of effective remedies for days when you can’t believe you have to pay for yet another tank of heating oil; you look out the window to discover you are not suddenly going blind, it is snowing again; you find yourself inclined to kiss the muddy boot of teenage firewood cutters who have the decency to trim to office-stove length; and you anticipate that like as not your taxes will be late arriving in Washington because they are trapped on the Maryland border in a blizzard.

This amaryllis did give me an appreciation, also, for how nice a white flower is with some variegated foliage in the rear, and I would like to try this out in the perennial borders, or perhaps in my new latest, greatest invention—the shade bed, which I have to build to bring the earth up to the standards of the housing inspector, or risk having to rail the summer kitchen deck. Which I am in no wise doing, because it would impair my diners’ view of Brewster Rooster and his lady friends. So, shade bed full of interesting white/variegated contrast it is.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Felix Non Gratis

Last Saturday I got to go to the Philadelphia Flower Show for the first time since the year I was pregnant with my son, who is now in high school. I was so happy to be there I was literally hopping up and down inside the front doors of the exhibit hall. The Flower Show is such a wonderful combination of fantasy, amazement at what people can get to bloom in winter, and admiration for the patience and passion of people in various extremely small niches of the gardening world—somebody built a Hogwarts greenhouse a foot tall, and really, who could have known there were that many cactuses from outer space, even in the glass rooms of the greater Philadelphia area? It was delightful, and I took photographs both for friends who could not be there, and of clever structures that I must needs build in my own garden. To top it all off, the Make & Take room was creating fascinators to order (this year’s theme being England), so numerous ladies were in attendance sporting headpieces that varied from a single stem of grass to veritable Carmen Mirandas of piled-up plant material. And this, my friends, is not something you see every day.

After I had viewed all the exhibits, I did my best to gratify my good husband’s interest in buying me plants. Contrary to popular belief, I was able to carry it all to the car by myself, though my arms hurt. I like to buy small specimens at the Flower Show, so that if I am not able to make them happy, I have not lost a huge investment. Which means I get to buy a lot of them. But I also always buy one showstopper orchid, in this case Bl. ‘Morning Glory,’ a cross between Brassavola nodosa, the Lady of the Night, and a cattleya/lailea species, both of which, believe it or not, run wild in the jungles of the New World.

This handsome article has been sitting in a cachepot on the dining room table since the show, entertaining passersby. This morning, however, I discovered that it had not just been entertaining but also feeding some bastard housecat. Those lovely rays radiating from the lip, I am sorry to tell you, have been clipped off midway, and in all likelihood we will never know the identity of the culprit, unless we catch him in the act of barfing up this glorious wonder of breeding.