Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February Weather--Typically English


Sun and wind and cold, followed by rain and wind and cold. Repeat this weather pattern about twenty times more and you've got the month of February all wrapped up, here in Northern Virginia.  Oh, these raw days are enough to make me look forward to the changing of the monthly guard, which is March, another cold, rainy and raw month. I think even the devil deer are tired of it all, too! Where am I, in England?  It seems as though even the Philadelphia Flower Show, starting next week, has their GPS set for Great Britain as well with an English theme, this year.

But, how long do I have to wait for daffodils to bloom, pretty pansies to pop and creeping phlox to start creeping again, outside?  This February weather has been blah enough and, with the sudden demise of Matthew in the season finale of Downton Abbey, even more blah.  It has taken me a week to get over that, as best I can--poor Mary!  What in heaven's name was that Julian Fellows fellow thinking, letting Matthew drive so carelessly, on those winding English country roads, anyway??

In spite of my February doldrums, the pussy willow harvest was completed this weekend here at Blooming Hill and P. Lorenz (a.k.a. Peter) took time off from his winter project of renovating the upstairs bathrooms (like we don't already have enough to do around here) to create a few of his signature pussy willow wreaths for spring.  Where is that spring, anyway?  Did I already ask that?  To coin a Martha Stewart saying, the closing of the books on this February, "is a GOOD thing."

Yet, as I write this, there is a robin singing in the yard, the first I've seen and heard this year and, a couple of cardinals are greeting his arrival, as only good neighbors should.  Perhaps I shall brew a cup of lavender tea, add a little honey and channel Queen Elizabeth I as that is, perhaps, what she would do, according to tea legend and English history.  I'll just have to endure this weather, waiting for spring to finally make her entrance--probably all of the way from England--somewhere, sometime soon.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Rose, By Any Other Name....

Pink "Attar of Roses" blossoms in the greenhouse just beginning to bloom.
Variegated leaves of rose-scented "Lady Plymouth."
A rose, by any other name, is still a rose, right?  Well, sort of, even when it is a scented geranium.  You know, those lovely pelargoniums that are just coming out of their winter slumber and greening up for their early spring "debutante" season.  Perhaps they heard that Easter is early this year and even though they want to be part of St. Valentine's party, they also have big plans to show off their frilly-leaved figures in a perfect go-to-church outfit.

Roses are the embodiment of love, beauty and grace and red roses in particular  exclaim, "I love you!"
"Snowflake" and "Old-fashioned Rose in the greenhouse responding to some much coveted sunlight, even in the greenhouse, at this time of year.
The frilly foliage of "Old-fashioned Rose."
While roses are considered the ambassadors of all things love, in the language of flowers, rose-scented geraniums convey preference and during Victorian times, no self-respecting bouquet of flowers, especially on Valentines Day, would dare to show up at any lady's door without these sweetly scented velvet and lace stems topped off with their coquettish blossoms included in the mix.   If you use your imagination, those petite petals often resemble a pretty pair of spring earrings to boot.  Best of all, the fair lady who was lucky enough to receive such a bouquet of love, could breathe in the fresh citrus and mint top notes that introduce the full-bodied fragrance of the rose scented geranium.   Aaaaaaahhhhhhh...love is in the air!  Can spring be closer than we think?  Well, I prefer to think so.  Happy Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Crocus, "Pleasures of Hope"

Instead of trying to chase away those winter blues, embrace them in all of their glory. In the language of flowers, a crocus conveys cheerfulness, youthful gladness and mirth all in the spirit of hope for greener and warmer days to come.  Right now, during this cold month of February, with endless clippers blowing down from Canada and dusting the Blooming Hill landscape with snow, a little bit of hope and mirth goes a long way.

A beautiful illustration of crocuses with snowdrops and ivy.
The crocus comes in white as well as shades of purple and golden and, when we are lucky enough to see them popping through the frozen ground, often with snow glazing their petals, one can feel the gush of pleasure that spring is not so far off after all, no matter what the groundhog says.  Whether it's sooner or later, the presence of crocuses promises the coming of spring.  Hope truly does spring eternal.