Thanks to a generous gift subscription from my sister, a tightly packed box full of fantastic blooms is delivered monthly to my door. Finding enough places to put them all can be a challenge, so I strive to send some on to other welcoming homes.
A future post may focus more on where the blooms have come from, but this one looks at where they went.
Earlier in January, when I asked friends for photos of indoor plants, Sandra Millikin sent three from her home in England. All were roses in vases, each bouquet distinct and inviting. Her titles and evocative captions added context. The words and images suggested significant stories behind the roses’ arrivals and arrangements.
October Roses: Next to my Highgrove favourite china mug for tea bought in August when visiting Prince Charles’ garden
Florist Flowers: On my kitchen upstand sent by nephew in Hong Kong….struggling to revive after delivery!
November Roses: On my coffee table….still blooming in late mild autumn cheer me up
Sandra’s offerings reminded me that I hadn’t yet done a post that focused only on roses though they are key pleasures in the world of plants. Her trio of photos inspired me to consider roses that came to me as gifts in recent years. I recalled how involved I became in settling them safely into certain vases. Below are three photos from my home, along with hopes that I can follow up with further posts that reflect our winter appreciation of plants.
Returning now to another photo from Sandra Millikin, including her observations below.
Antipodean roses from the garden of my friend Gerry’s daughter in Victoria near Melbourne. These from a time when they were all in lockdown. You can see how wonderfully they have opened in that blousy way typical of garden roses. Florist roses struggle to do this. And I love the mix of shapes and colours.
Selecting from seventy or so photos of plants inside my home from recent years, I tried to pare down to seven for this post. So I grasped for goals to guide me. The pandemic here in January of 2022 has made me go for photos that show the living space where few people are now free to visit.
Clinging to imperfect, personal details of my kitchen, living room, and dining room, I ruled out some of the most delicate or dramatic petals, leaves, and blooms. Instead, I took in familiar vases, pots, curtains, cherished art, and worn furnishings.
These growing or cut plants stand here as quiet companions with stories they might somehow tell again someday.
Next month I might think more broadly, if I’m still thinking. Meanwhile, emotional motivations prevail.
Here are labeled photos by Tina Gram from this summer (July-August 2021) in her spectacular garden in Somerville. She selected, described and sent them in response to my recent request to friends to share their photos of plants they value. My goal is to present the photos and words in ways that convey the alluring qualities of the plants from the photographer’s perspective. While still facing technical challenges in the process, I’m thrilled to explore new possibilities for sharing the pleasures of plants.
“For Holmes, the sunflowers represent a radiance that “sustains us even when things are not how we want them to go.” The flowers serve as a metaphor for heliotropism—“turning to the light.” They attract bees. They’re said to draw toxins out of the ground. With the profusion of seeds the flowers produce and their deep roots, they symbolize the hardiness of Roxbury. “These flowers intend to survive and they intend to come into being and share their great beauty.”“(quote from Greg Cook interview with Ekua Holmes June 2018)
Photos above are selected from more than seventy photos I’ve taken of sunflowers in the past seven summers.Quote above is the force and source of this post.
From the start of Pleasures of Plants, my intention was to share plant photos by friends and family, not only by me. For a few months I was trying to get comfortable with new features in the format I had selected. I hesitated to involve anyone else during that phase. Though still learning the basics of this blog, I’ve begun asking people to send photos of plants they value. I’m very grateful for their responses,* support, and patience as I try to present those photos in a worthy way.
*Barbara Nachmias-Kedesdy has offered these from her garden in Salem, MA:
Autumn crocus (left), David Austin English rose “Munstead Wood” (right)
Japanese anemone (windflower)( left), Dahlias and sweet peas (right)
Hydrangea ( left), Japanese anemone (windflower) ( right)
One of my first posts ( January 2021) focused on photos I took as an enthusiastic but infrequent visitor* to Northampton Street Community Garden. This sequel adds views of an insider, Michele Maniscalco, who has worked the soil there for several years with attention to significant events in her surroundings. As I requested, she has selected from her own photos and provided her own words to identify or explain them.
*Photos ( by D. Lee) at bottom of this post are from my visit in June 2021
On neighborhood walks this spring and summer I began to notice tended gardens in the narrow strips of earth between sidewalk and street. Then I noted the sense of shelter from traffic as I climbed the slope of Upland Road lined with clusters of flowers or grasses around saplings or established trees.
Parts of parked cars and road signs intruded on too many photos where I’d tried to capture the elegance or abundance at curbside. While closer focus ruled these out, those photos lost context of dealing with the challenges of the given space.
Whether or not my photos can convey this, I do appreciate more and more such garden strips on streets throughout the city. Upland Road raised my awareness anyway.
Some ways I’ve shared roses of Sharon* near me in recent years:
dig up and transplant selected saplings that grow below the original bush.
cut branches with buds and blossoms (a source of tiny active ants) to fill a vase.
sequence photos of successive stages of a blossom.
message short videos of blossoms lifting/shifting in warm winds.
sweep and scrape shriveled remains fallen on the sidewalk.
Now I add another way: Sort through years of photos of roses of Sharon in my neighborhood and choose seven best for a post on Pleasures of Plants.
*A common name for Hibiscus syriacus, a species of flowering plant in the mallow family, Malvaceae. It is native to south-central and southeast China, but widely introduced elsewhere, including much of Asia. ….. Common names include the rose of Sharon, (especially in North America) [Quote excerpt from Hibiscus syriacus in Wikipedia )