I sorta thought I’d be done posting these when they finally bloomed but they are so pretty. “Lemon Star” is joined by the first of the “Apple Blossom”. I’m hoping that one of them will wait until next week so that I can take it into the office.
The “Apple Blossom” takes a little longer for each blossom to get to it’s final trumpet shape. This plant has a tendency for the petals to “cup” until they are fully open. And this one has a little quirk, one of the petals has a small “finger”. I thought it was just a miss-shapen petal but each blossom has the same small distortion. The coloring is beautiful and one of my favorites, as amaryllis go.
The rose, and I did mention they are my passion, keeps coming up in the context of Christmas. Although I’m closer to an agnostic than the typical Christian, believing there is more than one way that our complex relationshp with god is experienced, more than one history that describes it, I thought I would write something about the symbolism of the rose in Christmas stories, in honor of the day. In my research I found three stories of the rose.
The popularism of the Da Vinci Code lead to the opportunity for many authors to write, and sell!, more in-depth books about Mary Magdalene, symbolized by the rose. There’s also the story of a small girl who visited the baby Jesus and had no gift for him. Her tears turned into the the Christmas rose (which scholars say is really not a rose at all). The third is my favorite because of the hauntingly beautiful hymn that describes Jesus’ mother Mary as the rose.
There is no rose of such virtue
As is the rose that bare Jesu
(There are more verses.) The thread that I see consistently running through these stories is the strong correlation of the rose with the mystery of womanhood. The silky petals, the bawdy pinks and reds, and the many layers reaveled in the unfolding of a hybrid tea rose from bud to blossom, borders on the erotic. Passion is earned. But this devine transformation happens with such an innocence of purpose. We think of the child, the mother, the sister, partner and friend.
This is the amaryllis “Lemon Star” that we’ve been following. It’s gussied up to take to sister’s house for Christmas so that someone who doesn’t have overgrown kittens can display it. I will visit tonight and tomorrow. I was thinking I might take it into work next week but it’s sooooo top heavy, and started to loosen from the soil with just a little moving around.
Only one thing I would do differently. I read that they don’t need much water but that’s an understatement. These were watered only twice in 40 days and really don’t need water yet. If I’d known that, I would have added fertilizer to the second watering.
I’m sure there’s a more elegant name for this simple dish. I created it after watching a friend make Bananas Foster but someone else has probably done this, too. It all needs to be done very quickly so have everything ready in advance. You might even want to have the ice cream in the bowls before you start the frying.
Peel and slice yummy apples (my favorite is Mutsu, like I purchased at Bolton Spring Orchard), enough to cover the bottom of your favorite frying pan. Melt a generous amount of butter and add the apples, stirring until they just start to soften. Add a generous amount of brown sugar. Stir and cook until the sugar carmelizes and the apples are cooked but still have some crunch. Deglaze the pan with a good splash of Calvados or other brandy and serve over the richest, creamiest vanila ice cream you can buy.
Roses are one of my passions and when I moved to New England, I was in awe of many of the famous gardening institutions, including the New England Rose Society. Members had been people that I read about in books! I volunteered when I could at the demo garden in Waltham, MA, and even did a stint on the Board. I was deeply saddened when the organization lost its demo gardens to cost cutbacks at the hosting organization and dropped out of sight. Recently, I was happy to find a web site with signs of life and wish them a long and rejuvenated life.
When I win the lottery, I’ll fund the rose garden at Tower Hill and we can all live happily ever after. A woman has to have her fantasies.
I came from the midwest and before I’d visited Massachusetts, knowing the stats on population density, I’d envisioned that the east coast looked a lot like the I-94 corridor around Chicago. I was very wrong. Trees and brush are allowed to grow right up against the historic, meandering roads and public lands like water reservoirs and state forests create natural, untouched green spaces in the most densely populated suburbs of Boston.
My commute, while too long, takes me through miles and miles of farm land, some of it very near to historic places like Walden Pond. Most of it is on a two lane highway, Route 117. In this blog, I’ll feature some of the places that I visit to augment produce from my very small garden.
One of the few seasonal farms that’s still open is Bolton Spring Farm, although probably not much longer this year. They open late in the summer and feature their own orchard products. I had the only realy ripe Mutsu (also called Crispin) this year in a bag that I purchased a couple of weeks ago.
Although they stock a broad variety of vegetables, gift products and home made baked goods, I think what makes them special is the many varieties of local apples that they grow and stock. They clearly mark what’s locally grown. This time of year, they sell Christmas trees and greens, too.
I have to move the Amaryllis out of the furnace room because I can’t lift the lights any higher. This location is set up to grow seedlings and only gives about a foot of head room. We made the ritual photo-taking into a small party. Even Mickey (Michel, Misha) joined the party. He was adopted from the Pat Brody Shelter in Lunenberg just about exactly six years ago now. Cannoli is his best bud.
Notice how the top blossom has a slight bend. One of the florescent bulbs was older than the other. It’s really important to turn the pots regularly.
I drive by Bolton Spring Farms every day (more about that in a future post) and a stand of beautiful red shrubs. I stopped to take pictures on my way to work yesterday. The common name is winterberry. It’s a deciduous holly and the absence of leaves makes the abundant berries the dominant feature. Against the cold bright light and the monochrome winter landscape they pop. These are growing in full sun and I don’t have much of that. But I read that it likes acidic, wet soil so I’m starting to think about where I can fit one into my winter garden.
Happy dance, happy dance! The first identifiable new growth peeked up from the old stems about the middle of this week. I think the shoot on the front of this picture will be a blossom later on.
Life Lesson: Sometimes, at work, I feel like I’m not making any difference, like I’m just going through the motions. This reminds me that in complex systems, all that a person can do is work to create the right conditions. Often, there are things going on that are invisible, underground. When change happens, sometimes it seems abrupt; but that’s only because we just see the results, not all of the underlying processes that are at work.