Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Bulb Mart (And The Near Occasion Of Sin)

I could write down a whole list of excuses.  The sun was in my eyes. I was just holding it for somebody.  I didn't mean to.  But in my heart I knew.  My foot was on the slippery slope when I put a wagon in my car to take to The Garden Club of Houston's Bulb and Plant Mart.  Today's the last day, if you want to join me in exile.
Amaryllis 'Charisma.' Photo: Van Bloem Gardens
For someone who didn't need anything, and doesn't have any place to put any more plants, I came home with some pretty neat stuff.  I know, I know.  I wrote all that stuff about how I already have enough amaryllis.  But I decided I really had to have 'Charisma.'  I have pink ones, red ones, white ones, orange ones, greenish ones.  But I don't think I have exactly this sort of reddish one!

'Rhett' photo: Louisiana Iris Farms, LLC
Luckily, they were sold out of that fancy Louisiana iris called 'Cherry Twist.'  But, 'Rhett' was there, and only $4 and such a nice color.  It was small, though, and looked insignificant in my wagon.  So I got 'Andy Dandy' to keep him company.

Sparaxis.  Photo: Tulipworld.com
Ixia.  Photo: Tulipworld.com
Ranunculus 'Flamenco.'  Photo: Easytogrowbulbs.com
And the smaller bulbs are so charming!  I got a bag of sparaxis, because I love their clowny faces.  I got a bag of ixia because I couldn't remember where I planted my old ones.  And there was a wonderful ranunculus called 'Flamenco' that I had to try. 

Tulip Clusiana Chrysantha.  Photo: Easytogrowbulbs.com
I had no trouble resisting the tulips.  I don't like to prechill bulbs and it kills me when they don't return.  So I held firm -- until I decided that the little clusianas, closer to species tulips that don't need chilling, would be just the thing.  So I got a bag of those, too.

When I came to my senses, I had about $50 worth of bulbs in the wagon.  I went outside for a breath of fresh air.  And lo and behold, there was the little Peruvian Pavonia that my friend Cindy keeps over in her corner of Katy.  I have such good luck with pavonia that I had to try this one.  That's when I really came to my senses.

Melochia tomentosa.  Photo: Bustani Plant Farm
I noticed that the line was so long -- longer then I've ever seen it -- that I had better get in it.  It wasn't so bad to stand in line.  You get to see what everyone else has in her wagon.  That's when I noticed that every other person seemed to have Melochia.  Mine froze this past winter, one of the very few things that didn't come back in my garden.  So my line-mate watched the wagon for me while I tracked it down.

Finally, I made it out of there by the skin of my teeth!  My penance?  Having to plant all these great bulbs in pots, because I really do not have room for any of them!


  1. Very pretty flowers indeed specially sparaxis. I live bulbs as well and you can see my experiences on growing bulbs on my blog. Keep posting.

  2. I almost made a run over there on Saturday but ended up working in the garden too late to make it. Probably just as well: I was in the mood to go on a spree!

    I've had really bad luck with Melochia and I don't know why. I'm not allowing myself to buy it again. I'm NOT.