The Cyclamen sentry

11 03 2008

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

FYI: I did learn that cyclamen plants are poisonous to cats—she was only on the table briefly and she’s not a plant eater, anyway—which we’re grateful for. I ended up giving all the plants away. I also had to give away a pencil cactus after learning the sap is poisonous!

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White Cyclamen

11 03 2008

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Two penny Cyclamen

11 03 2008

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Po folks gardenin’

10 03 2008

Princess Gigi’s day started out like any other day. Coffee served in bed. A dose of Good Morning America, followed by Regis & Kelly. All the while, thoughts of spring swirled in her sleepy head. Thoughts of Wal-Mart and her need to usher in the season. Off she went, in her gas guzzling cherry red Jeep, to the big box giant. She expected to find her usual treasures that included Super Bubble gum and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and perhaps some seasonal delights such as Nerds jelly beans. As she felt her blood sugar dwindling, she opted for a triple thick chocolate shake (small, of course) from McDonalds. And, not forgetting her one-eyed dawg, Gumbo, she picked up a plain double cheeseburger from the nifty dollar menu. After perusing the “fashion offerings” in the women’s department, she felt her pulse quicken as she neared the garden department she fondly thought of as mecca. She simply couldn’t resist the 10 cent herb seed collection and the assortment of bulbs on display. She felt herself magnetically drawn to a shelf of already-blooming Cyclamen. Red! Pink! White! Oh, they were so lovely; each one more beautimous than the last. A certain corner of her dining room needed a splash of color and she knew the price was right: $3.50, marked down from $7.88. Wanting to live a pilot’s lifestyle on a flight attendant’s salary, she knew she had to pace herself. It was, after all, just starting to warm up. Gardening season was barely upon her on this blustery March day. She chose a red specimen (her favorite color) and nestled it among her other various impulse buys. She proceeded to the self-scanning register. Much to her surprise, the perfect red Cyclamen rang up as .02, not $7.88, the original price. Not $3.50, as her 4-days-before scan had revealed. Just two cents! She fumbled for her cell phone to call the Head Weed. She just knew she would win the “best garden bargain EVER” award with this major coup! What would get her friend Cindy away from her mundane work faster than a two cent sale on Cyclamen at Wal-mart? And she was right. The Head Weed instructed her to buy every Cylamen in sight! Being the dutiful little Weedette that she is, she did as instructed. She ran back and filled her cart with all 15 plants. Total expenditure: 30 cents plus tax! She agreed to meet the Head Weed in the Target parking lot to share the loot and collect her 20 cents. Don’t believe this story? We have photographic proof and a partial receipt.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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First blooms of the season…

5 03 2008

My Hellebores are blooming! This one appeared to be lifting its head to the sunlight, raised up by a jumble of leaves and unopened blooms below it (Hellebore blooms nod or face downward). The plants in my front yard garden were given to me by my friend Karen and they have steadily spread into several clumps over the past few years. They begin to bloom right before my yellow crocuses appear. Some of the blooms are a creamy white while the others are pink like this one. I think the pink one is a “Sunshine Strain.” A “strain” is an unflowered seedling of a particular set of parents. In Hellebores, most strains usually resemble the better qualities of their parents (much like humans, I suppose!). There aren’t many subjects in bloom right now, but it sure feels good to photograph something in the garden again.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Blue Pinwheel Thingie

3 03 2008

An e-mail from my Dad, in response to the question I sent out to the Weedettes:

“Blue pinwheel thingies…does anyone know what these are?”

LouLou,

Ah, Master, at last you have come to the Grasshopper for assistance. My heart swells with pride and I am virtually overcome with emotion. In fact, I am so happy I could just—well, you know the rest.

The “blue pinwheel thingies,” as you so casually (and rather unflatteringly) refer to them, are “flores azules hay como las llantas.” Freely translated from the Spanish (and I do mean freely), the name means “tire-like blue flowers.” The word “tire” refers to the circular shape of the blossoms.

“Pin” refers to the stem, the part of the plant on which the blossom is “mounted.” Llantas (tires) are mounted on wheels which, in turn, are placed on the hubs of axles. Note the similarity of “pin” and “hub.” The terms are synonymous—that synonymicity, or synonymicitessness, should have been obvious to you because each word has exactly three letters and each is pronounced with just one syllable—the “b” in hub makes it sound like two syllables, but it only has one (you probably pronounce it “ub,” as in “erb” and “erbert oover,” etc.).

The “blue pinwheel thingies” were named by none other than Michelangelo (1475-1564), a man who was entranced (enthralled, even) by all things purple, even by anything even remotely tinged with the color purple, and one who is said to have thoroughly enjoyed “tip-toeing through the tulips,” if you get my drift.

In naming flowers, as in all his other endeavors, “Micky” (as he was called by his his students, most of whom are said to have been fellow tip-toers), was centuries ahead of his time, because although the wheel was in universal use, “llantas” (tires) had not yet been invented.

And finally, we come to the curiousist (as Alice in Wonderland might say) part in the saga of “flores azules como las llantas”—in this beautiful blossom we have a flower named by a fruit, and nothing could be any curiouser than that.

Actually there is something curiouser—in her e-mail (Friday, March 31, 2006, 8:11 a.m.) your friend Gina said she thought the plant might be a hyacinth. She was wrong, of course, but the curious part is that Michelangelo also named the hyacinth. The parents of his favorite student (said to have been a flagrant tip-toer) deliberately misnamed their son (they wanted a girl), and Michelangelo was wont to greet her— I mean him—as follows: “Hi ya, Cinth,” thus the name “hyacinth.” The name “hyacinth” therefore came from Michelangelo’s adaptation of his greeting to Cynthia.

Perhaps Gina knew the origin of the name but didn’t know that she knew it—it may have been submerged in her subconsious but was close enough to the surface to trigger an association with Michelangelo and his penchant for naming flowers.

Enough of my gloating over your inability to recognize that which should have been immediately recognizable. I’ll close by saying that the pics are gorgeous, whatever the flower’s name and however its origin.

Methinks I taught thee well (you’re welcome).

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© 2006 Cindy Dyer, All rights reserved.