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Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

060118-not-a-fox-6tag

This is not a fox. Or as René Magritte might say, “Ceci n’est pas un renard.”

I crept up on it slowly, slowly near the North Bridge, wondering why it stayed so still. Didn’t it see me?

So much for my eyesight: It was a statue. But I did see a real fox crossing a road Friday. (I knew it must be a fox because it trotted like a cartoon fox and had a long, bushy tail.) I have also seen a fawn with its mother and a little weasel recently.

Alas, I wasn’t fast enough with the camera for any of those. I can give you mental pictures only — the deer ambling in a leisurely way, the fox trotting, and the weasel a high-speed blur.

My other photos are mostly accounts of spring in New England, although I couldn’t resist shooting the funny bar inside an actual bank vault. It was located in a Harvard Square restaurant called the Hourly Oyster.

Next you have a view of the Buttrick House garden in Minuteman National Park, an evening shot of our dogwood, a morning shot of a neighbor’s lupines (they do remind me of visiting Sweden’s west coast last year), roses, clematis, honeysuckle, and topiary.

The last two photos are from Rhode Island — early morning at an old house and yellow iris near where Suzanne’s family lives.

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Art: Mary Delany (1700-1788)
Flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratus) paper collage.

I’m not sure how I learned about the extraordinary botanical collages of Mary Delany, but as soon as I saw photos of her work, I headed straight to Wikipedia.

There I got enraged for the umpteenth time about the helplessness of women in past centuries (Delany was forced to marry a 60-year-old when she was 17). Finally, I came to this description of her late-blooming avocation.

“In 1771, a widow in her early 70s, Mary began on decoupage, a fashion with ladies of the court. Her works were detailed and botanically accurate depictions of plants.

“She used tissue paper and hand colouration to produce these pieces. She created 985 of these works, calling them her ‘Paper Mosaiks,’ [from] the age of 71 to 88, when her eyesight failed her.

‘With the plant specimen set before her she cut minute particles of coloured paper to represent the petals, stamens, calyx, leaves, veins, stalk and other parts of the plant, and, using lighter and darker paper to form the shading, she stuck them on a black background. By placing one piece of paper upon another she sometimes built up several layers and in a complete picture there might be hundreds of pieces to form one plant. It is thought she first dissected each plant so that she might examine it carefully for accurate portrayal.’ [Hayden, Ruth. Mrs Delany: her life and her flowers] …

Frances Burney (Madame D’Arblay) was introduced to her in 1783, and frequently visited her at her London home. … She had known many of the luminaries of her day, had corresponded with Jonathan Swift [among others], and left a detailed picture of polite English society of the 18th century in her six volumes of Autobiography and Letters (ed. Lady Llanover, 1861–1862).”

More pictures at Wikipedia, here. You may also be interested in this post, about the botanical art of Peter Rabbit creator Beatrix Potter. Potter, as a woman, failed to receive the attention men in science achieved — a century after Delany.

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Bryn-Mawr-mayday

Photo: Bryn Mawr College
Students dance around the May pole as part of an ancient spring tradition. A local men’s college used to try to steal May poles in the dead of night. One year a May pole ended up in a swimming pool.

As important as International Workers Day is, please don’t forget about the ancient May Day, the one that welcomes spring with flower baskets deposited at doors and with dances that weave ribbons around a May pole. It’s sweet and fun.

My children used to leave little bouquets of violets and daffodils and tulips on neighbors’ doorsteps. A babysitter showed us how to make baskets using wallpaper from discontinued sample books and a stapler. The kids would ring a neighbor’s bell, then run and hide. If anyone asked us later whether we knew anything about the nice flowers they found outside their door, we always said we had no idea what they were talking about. Which made it pretty obvious, actually.

I remember Mrs. Pulhamous saying to me, “Oh, I’m going to be so sad when your children grow up!”

Recently, I was sorting through files and was reminded that when Suzanne was in Girl Scouts, we made baskets for retirement home residents and received very sweet thank-you notes. I still think the Girl Scouts would be a good organization to carry on the tradition.

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032918-early-flowers-Monument-St

Yesterday was beautiful. Everyone wanted to be outside. I walked along one of my favorite woodland trails, which connects to the cemetery. At gravesites, there were more Christmas decorations, brown and tattered, than Easter ones. I think if I were a doing cemetery remembrances at holidays, I’d remove them when I took down the decorations at my house. But perhaps family members don’t live nearby.

Pansies seem to be favored for spring.

On Monument Street, a man waiting by a gift shop for his wife volunteered as I passed, “Nice to be in the sun again. It’s been a long winter.” Indeed. In like a lion, out like a lamb.

The Easter Egg Hunt was at my house. The magnificent matzoh balls (made with ginger and nutmeg) are the work of my sister-in-law Lisa.

Whatever you celebrated this weekend I hope that your day was lovely.

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I’ll start with the parrot.

Do you ever think about how a slight change of routine can lead to something interesting? When I was commuting every day, I often missed my train, so I would tell myself maybe it’s OK. Maybe this means I’ll run into an old friend or make a new one or see something amazing out the window that I would have missed otherwise.

Last week, I walked home from an errand on a different side of the street because it was shadier, and I’m pretty sure I would have missed the parrot if I had stuck with routine. Such a small change! The owner returned as I was taking pictures and told me it was an Amazon Parrot. I was impressed that it hadn’t tried to exit the open window.

The next photos are of a local community garden. I tried to find out if the food bank could do gleaning there as I know the original donor wanted the land to feed the poor. Still researching that. It looked like a lot was going to waste there.

Next comes Verrill Farm, with flowers in pots and flowers you can pick yourself — under amazing skies. That farm seems to have especially wonderful skies. I also liked the sky over the church steeple.

The tree, of course, has a face. I don’t know if it’s an Ent. I hope so, but it wasn’t talking.

The next shot shows the early morning sun over Minuteman Park. Then you have some dancing ladies near the deciduous holly. And a photo of the parrot looking at me indignantly.

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Photo: Cornell University
Small predators related to jellyfish (Hydroids) and other marine creatures made of glass may be viewed at the Corning Museum of Glass until January 8, 2017.

Visitors to the Boston area are often taken to see the famous glass flowers created by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and displayed at the Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge. I have taken guests there myself.

But it was news to me that the Blaschkas also created sea creatures in glass. Many of those were acquired by Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

According to Wikipedia, the marine specimens came before the flowers.

“Leopold Blaschke was born in Český Dub, Bohemia, to a family which originated from Josefuv Dul (Antoniwald) in the Iser or Izera Mountains, a region known for processing glass, metals and gems. The family had also spent time in the glassblowing industry of Venice.

“Leopold displayed artistic skills as a child, and was apprenticed to a goldsmith and gemcutter. He then joined the family business, which produced glass ornaments and glass eyes. He developed a technique which he termed ‘glass-spinning,’ which permitted the construction of highly precise and detailed works in glass. He also Latinised his family name to ‘Blaschka,’ and began to focus the business on the manufacture of glass eyes.

“In 1853, Leopold was suffering from ill health and was prescribed a sea voyage. He traveled to the United States and back, using the time at sea to study and draw sea animals, primarily invertebrates.’ ” Read how he started making replicas of them at Wikipedia.

The Guardian alerts us to the current exhibition of the Blaschkas’ marine work in upstate New York. “Father and son team Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka created perfect reproductions of invertebrate marine life in glass in their studio in Germany in the 19th century. Cornell University acquired a collection of 570 items in 1885, and a selection of these can be seen at an exhibition at the Corning Museum of Glass. ‘Fragile Legacy: The Marine Invertebrate Glass Models of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka’ runs until 8 January, 2017.”

Amazing photos here.

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Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers! This mother is indulging her interest in photography today (the simple kind: pointing and shooting with a phone). So here are a few recent pictures and explanations for the less obvious.

For example: I went out for a walk one evening and was surprised to encounter Morris Dancers on the steps of the library. They seemed to be practicing, not performing. Where would Morris dancers be performing in late April, after Patriots Day? That was a mystery. Another mystery to me was how young men and boys get drawn into performing Morris Dance. I’m sure it’s good exercise, but …

I include shots of a clay bird’s shadow on my wall and hedge shadows on a sidewalk. The fence with the stage coach and other old timey images painted along the railings is in Providence — easy to overlook when walking past.

Providence plaques and memorials. The one of Martin Luther King Jr. is on a bridge with a view of Water Place. The monument to an event Rhode Island celebrates as the real first engagement of the American Revolution — the colonists’  clash with Brits on the HMS Gaspee — is partly obscured by bushes.

Little old Rhode Island gets no respect. It was also the first colony to sign on for independence, May 4, 1776. Who knew?

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