Laburnum arbor, Bayview Nursery

Laburnum arbor, Bayview Nursery

Spring is proceeding at breathless pace, and one of my favorite places to savor the fresh colors and blooms is Bayview Farm and Garden on Whidbey Island.  I mark my calendar each year so that I remember to make the trip there when the laburnum arbor is in full glory.  The cascading flowers of Golden Chain give the impression that you are sitting under a floral waterfall.  The double arbor alone makes Bayview Farm and Garden a worthy destination, but of course, the rest of the nursery is also full of visual treats.

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A garden Buddha

A garden Buddha

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Clematis

Clematis

Hollyhocks

Hollyhocks

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Fuchsias

Fuchsias

“Fuchsias are among my ninety-nine most favourite flowers. . . . I could go on for hours, and probably shall, one day, about their white petticoats and their crimson ruffs and the incredible grace with which they dispose themselves.”
— Beverley Nichols, Sunlight on the Lawn

Fuchsia, or Tears of God

September 12, 2012

Fuchsias at the Washington Park Arboretum

I like the images describing fuchsia in this poem, which I read in “The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor.”  The dangling blooms have always reminded me of Oriental lanterns, but I had never heard them called “tears of God” until this poem.

Fuchsia
by Katrina Vandenberg

That summer in the west I walked sunrise
to dusk, narrow twisted highways without shoulders,
low stone walls on both sides. Hedgerows
of fuchsia hemmed me in, the tropical plant
now wild, centuries after nobles imported it
for their gardens. I was unafraid,
did not cross to the outsides of curves, did not
look behind me for what might be coming.
For weeks in counties Kerry and Cork, I walked
through the red blooms the Irish call
the Tears of God, blazing from the brush
like lanterns. Who would have thought
a warm current touching the shore
of that stone-cold country could make
lemon trees, bananas, and palms not just take,
but thrive? Wild as the jungles they came from,
where boas flexed around their trunks —
like my other brushes with miracles,
the men who love you back, how they come
to you, gorgeous and invasive, improbable,
hemming you in. And you walk that road
blazing, some days not even afraid to die.

Painting from a photo

Watercolor sketch of fuchsia

 

 

Fuchsia display at the Volunteer Park Conservatory

Purple and hot pink fuchsia

It’s been quite rainy lately, so I decided that Seattle’s Volunteer Park Conservatory would make a good, rain-protected environment for testing the repairs to my Canon camera and lens.  I’m pleased to report that my camera is working like new!

This month the Conservatory’s special displays featured fuchsias.  But I was equally inspired by the plants in the permanent displays.  There’s always something new in bloom.

Exotic bloom, Volunteer Park Conservatory

Leaf edge abstraction