Sunday, March 3, 2013

a bit of brighter

It occurred to me that it would be nice to see a bit of bright color, as a complement to the recent trend of greys and grey-greens and grey-duns and grey-blues.

I thought, "hyacinths!"  I love hyacinths, with their sweet, heady smell of Spring, and their soft palette of pink and white, or my lifelong favorite: deep violet-blue.

There is a small florist shop only a few miles away, and perhaps twice yearly I treat myself to a little soul-enrichment there. It is a very pleasant shop to visit, with its original oak-framed cooler full of chilly roses, and its pleasant proprietor and staff.

I should go there more often.

Although the trip was going to be a short one, I invited Piper to come along for the ride.  Piper's world teeters on the brink of  collapse when anyone goes down the driveway without her, so I try to bring her along whenever possible.

Any invitation to go for a ride causes Piper to leap repeatedly into the air, and race madly back and forth.  It is her self-imposed duty to show me the way to the car which is in plain sight about 50 feet away.  She gets me there, every time, without fail.

After all this build-up, Piper doesn't really enjoy riding in the car.  She frets, and talks to herself, and points out that other dogs are permitted to hang their entire heads out the windows of moving vehicles instead of having to conform to my arbitrary "safety" rule of just two inches of snout.

No, she really doesn't enjoy the ride.  But she really, really enjoys getting into and out of the car.

Piper is a complex individual.

The photograph at the top of this post probably gave you a tip-off:
there were no hyacinths at the shop.

Well, there were, but they were poking their green leaves only about an inch out of the potting soil.  They are being carefully brought along by the florist for Easter blooming, nearly four weeks away.

The florist said that if I brought them home into 70-degree conditions, they would bloom in about two weeks.  Here's the problem with that scenario:

first, my home is closer to 60 degrees; as high as 64 for an hour or two if I'm feeling chilled to my bones.

second, I am a hazard to plants.  Sad, but true.  Water? Too much or too little. Light?  Ditto. The sweep of a happy Piper-tail or the bump of an awkward elbow...smash.  Any sensible plant would prefer a brief indoor visit at the height of health and bloom, followed by planting outdoors where one must contend only with the New England climate.

A few hyacinths I planted many years ago are still bravely rising from the forest floor each year, looking increasingly like wild flowers:

A charming little miracle.

It will be some time before the hyacinths (and violets! and lilies of the valley!) are blooming outdoors, though, so I plan to go back to the florist in three weeks for my delayed dose of hyacinths.

Meanwhile...carnations!  Miniature carnations, in fact. Did you know they exist? I didn't. They are rather sweet.

Just a few stems of carnations and a bit of fern and baby's breath (now there's a common name I have never understood...can anyone shed light on the origin of that one?) gave me enough material for one milk-jug bouquet where it will be seen most often, one small arrangement by the kitchen sink, and one miniature posy in a tiny antique bottle I found years and years ago.

The little bottle is on the windowsill next to my bed, and when I looked out at dawn and saw snow falling this morning, it was a heart-warming pleasure to be looking at that snow through a cheerful group of little flowers.