Sunday 7 January 2024

Bouquet of January: Daisies and Strawberry Leaves.


Yesterday I went out for a stroll - it was Sunday, and the icy wind threw a fine drizzle of snow into my face. I hoped very much that it wouldn't get more: we have a rearrangement of our obligations in wintertime: now in my Bavarian domicile all 4 tenants have to do all snow shovelling in weekly turns (before after fulfilment on one day the next tenant had to shovel on the next snowy day). 

In Berlin we have a kind (and paid) janitor to do that - sigh - so much better. 

I try to gloss that tiring duty over as "fitness training" - but honestly I peer into the sky and try to conjure each potential threatening snow cloud away - abracadabra! 

As always I am looking on my strolls for flowers - and yes: I found a few courageous daisies and some strawberry leaves, tinted red by frost. 

Marianne Beuchert writes in her book: "Symbolik der Pflanzen", that daisies - bellis perennissymbolise purity and modesty, and often are drawn on paintings of the Virgin Mary or Jesus

But they are also dedicated to Frejya, the love goddess. On Botticellis "Birth of Venus" the goddess gets a coat embroidered over and over with bellis. 

The Dutch proverb "Mate l´e`fte, lange l´e`fte" - "Temperated love - long life" I find a bit depressing. I love firework. I think I share that preference with Aphrodite/Venus, who also get daisies as attribute. 


Sunday 17 December 2023

"The Well Gardened Mind" - to Whom it may concern


Actually I will only try if Blogspot finally accepted my new title and will show the header on my main blog "You are witty and pretty" 

But I think this book by Sue Stuart-Smith might be a great help if stress overwhelms us - for example in preparation time for Christmas I recommend chapter 8: Radical Solutions   :-) 

Third Sunday in Advent


Well, it is not easy to find flowers outside now, though on my balcony flowers a Christmas rose. 
On my Advent wreath you see cones of larch (genus Larix) and a few pine twigs that fell onto the paths here in Bavarian woods. 
When yesterday I took a stroll I suddenly found a "flower": 
hoar on leaves, so beautiful. 
I wish you a tranquil time in Advent ! 

Saturday 9 December 2023

"To Paint Tulips was a Provocation" - the exhibition "Pure Pleasure" by Reinhard Voigt

Reinhard Voigt (1940, born in Berlin) is a German artist who - as the Neues Museum Nürnberg, Kunst und Design tells us - has worked over fifty years as a largely unknown artist. 

Every (!) picture of him is screened (if that is the correct word) - pixel for pixel. 

I was instantly reminded of the first computer games like Super Mario (which I never played). When Super Marion was invented in 1985, Voigt was 45 years old. The Museum writes: 

"But at the beginning of his painting the pixels of digital pictures were still unknown." (translation by me) 

The exhibition presents round about 60 pictures - and some show flowers. 

Tulips II (1969)
Voigt loves plants, and he said: "To paint tulips was a provocation" because in the 1970 art should have been political. 
Yet he unperturbed painted beauty and colours
Instantly I was reminded of a time in my life when I, starting in 1985 for about three years, did a lot of cross stitch - many, many very beautiful works (but is it art?) - which was complicated because I worked without an imprint on the embroidery canvas - I counted every stitch! Doing that created a sort of "protecting stillness" in my brain - it gave me the feeling of order in a very unstructured time. 
I never did cross-stitch later again. 

And I was right (the joy of having guessed right!): Reinhard Voigt admitted that he admired the cross stitch works his mother had produced. 

In the last years he cooperated with Albert Kriemler, chief designer of the fashion label Akris.  (To be honest: I would not wear that pant suit if you give it to me as a gift - though some shawls were nice). 

Sunday 26 November 2023

November's Flowerbouquet


After a storm I found this twig on the gras. I think it is a pine - specifying coniferous is not my strongest point. 

The contrast of the pine to the latish camomile blossom reminds me of the Chinese symbol "Three Friends of Winter" - pine, bamboo and winter cherry.  

I was astonished that in one field a huge "bush" of camomile still was still flowering with big white blossoms. They lasts very long in the vase, and always bring words like "innocent, smiling and pure" to my mind (akin to marguerites). 

Saturday 7 October 2023

A Flower in October


Not a posy this time - only One Flower - I found her head on a huge field that had been covered with sunflowers. So quick time goes by - I take it as a symbol for autumn who puts now a sterner and colder grip on us. 

A few days before - and when I watch these two photos and become sentimental I think I could hear them cry: "Good bye!"

Thursday 14 September 2023

Wildflower Bouquet of the Month September


Britta says: It is so easy to forget the excitement one felt when something was "new". I raved when two years ago I got my secondary home in Bavaria and saw all beautiful nature - I walked through woods and fields (this I still do :-) and admired all the wildflowers. And decided to present one bouquet every month. 


Here you see: meadow sage (Salvia pratensis), purple willowherb (Lythrum salicaria), common agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria, dove pincushion (Scabiosa),and common toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)

Many thanks to - they developed so amazingly from a dreary beginning with only a few plant names (roses, tulips :-) to a very amazing variety now.  

Tuesday 11 April 2023

The Exhibition "Flowers Forever" in Munich

So happy to see you here! 

... I thought that I saw a collection of flower drawings - but no, it was something very different: 

"These collages were made by Fadwa Hussoun, an intelligence officer in the Libanese Army. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Lebanon's Deuxième Bureau, the army's Intelligence division, used to give code names to all local and international leaders. But someone had to come up with the code names. Fadwa Houston was assigned this task, and because she had studied botany in university, she decided to give the leaders the name of flowers. To remember which code name belonged to which person, she made the collages displayed here." (text Kunsthalle Munich)


Friday 24 March 2023

"The Posy of March": Violets and Daisies


Last year I bound quite a lot of little bunches (that word might be better than "bouquet"?) on the days spent in Bavaria. When I walked through nature I picked a few wild flowers to bring a whiff of spring or summer inside. 

Here you see the first little posy of the year 2023: three fragrant violets and three daisies, together in a tiny Meissen porcelain vase. 

"Above all flouris in the mede 
Than I love most those flouris 
White and rede;
Soche that men call daisies 
In our towne"

writes Geoffrey Chaucer. 

Daisies - or Bellis perennis - are my first flower-memory from very early childhood: 
in times - though quite a time after the end of WWII - mothers were still advised to feed their children exactly all four hours, and let them cry "to strengthen their lungs", and my mother followed that advice strictly and put my pram outside on the meadow, or, when the weather grew warmer, put me on a cover on the grass. 
Daisies fascinated me - they smelled quite strange, but looked lovely. 



Tuesday 7 March 2023

First Violets!


Can you imagine? I found the first violets when I walked up the hills! 

They were almost invisible (I helped one out from under the leaves) - real messagers of spring! 

These were dog violets (viola canine) - so they do not smell - but though I am very keen on the fragrance of flowers, this time I had nothing to nag but was just happy. 

Of course I didn't pick them - because though the weather is really cold I saw the first courageous bees - and they will need all the nectar they can find. 

I don't know whether they are still in fashion, but as pupils we had in Germany friendship books, we called them "Poesiealbum" - one wrote a more (or less) wise saying into it, and painted or pasted a glittering picture beside it. 

Very popular was this one: 

"Be like the little violet in the moss, modest, demure and pure/ and not like the proud rose/ which always wants to be adored!" 

(Well - I like roses :-)   

And I suspect that the anonymous poet didn't know much about botany: the violet is a very doggedly plant, with a high urge to to spread itself out. Yes, they occupied almost the whole world, both hemispheres. 

And I always think of C.G.Jung and his theory of "the Shadow", when I look at all those people striving for power or world domination - whose favourite flower was the modest violet: Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm, Winston Churchill. 

And many others.    

Wednesday 8 February 2023

The Garden of a Princess, Prinses Wilhelmina


In her wonderful autobiography "Eeenzam Maar Niet Alleen" (which I would translate as "Lonely but Not Alone") Wilhelmina, Queen of the Netherlands, ruling from 1898 - 1948, describes the little garden she had as a child. (Rough translation by me - from Nederlands to English - a bit daring as both are not my mother tongue :-) 

"Also for my little garden - I had a small garden of my own - he ordered (Wilhelmina speaks of the Head-Gardener Kraaijenbrink) all flowering plants, among others a whole planting of miniature roses (Perle d'Or) along the path that led there. Father was interested also in the hothouses and glasshouses; he gave Mother many beautiful foreign plants of many sorts and origin. 

Mother made sure that I cared for flowers in father's room throughout the whole year. First pluck, then despatch, that was my task. He was always so glad with them! Of course mother got her due too."     

(The text in Nederland: "Ook voor mijn tuintje - ik had een eigen tuintje - bestelde hij (tuinbaas Kraaijenbrink) alle bloeiende planten, onder andere een hele beplanting van dwergroosjes (Perle d'Or) langs het pad daar doorhen. Ook de kassen en kasplanten hadden vaders belangstelling; hij schonk moeder vele mooie uitheemse planten van allerlei soort en herkomst. 

Moeder droeg er zorg voor dat ik het hele jaar door vaders kamer van bloemen voorzag. Eerst plukken en dan schikken, dat was mijn taak. Wat was hij er altijd blij mee! Natuurlijk kreeg moeder ook haar deel."

Did you have a garden bed of your own when you were a child? Did you like to help in the garden? 


Friday 3 February 2023

Light in February


"If Candlemas Day be fair & bright /  Winter will have another fight / But if Candlemas Day be clouds & rain / Winter is gone & and will not come again"     quotes Edith Holden an old English saying. 

Well, well, well - these days we are almost drowning in rain! Yet I am not convinced that it was all we saw of winter, though I would be glad: the Schneekarte hangs on my peg (a card that shows which person has to do the snow shovelling - here in Bavaria we have no janitor, and I could not convince my flat neighbours to spend money on a person who will clear away the snow...) 

On the table of my balcony you see dwarf iris (they smell so lovely), first snow dropsmuscari "Blue Magic" (which my computer stubbornly tries to change into "Mascara").  

In February we see that the days get longer and light comes back. The Celtic feast of Brigid celebrates the light - Brigid is the Goddess of Light, bright, radiant and sparkling.  

In a book I found the proposal to contemplate a typical February question: 

'What New wants to grow? What needs light, love and caring?' - good questions not only for the gardeners among us, I think. 

Tuesday 31 January 2023

A Surprise: the Poisonous-Plant of the Year 2023

I will go outside on my balcony, shivering in the icy wind, and take a picture of a plant that everybody knows (though might not recognise it in this bad condition here :-) . 

After winter the plant looks ugly and unkempt - thus I decided that it will be best to throw it out. 

And THAT would be very wise. 

Because I am speaking of Germany's "Poisonous Plant of the Year 2023". 

It is - hoopla! - PARSLEY. Normal (but what is normal nowadays?) parsley, whether flat Italian parsley or curly-leaf parsley: both are poisonous. 

How come that we all still are alive then? you might ask yourself. 

And I may chirp: If you have children or grandchildren, you know that almost every plant on earth is poisonous: potatoes, lilies of the valley, yew tree, (but also box, did you know that)?  

When our son was very young, I always had the telephone number of the poison-emergency call-centre with me - because as an unexperienced young mother - but well-informed on plants - I feared that a small child might put everything into its mouth. 

I even became a murderer myself: I expurgated the laburnum that had settled on its own next to the entrance of my garden and showered the earth with hundreds of highly poisonous seeds - all parts of laburnum are very toxic. Twice in my life I became a whistle blower: I informed the garden authorities - once in Hildesheim, where the idiots had planted a wall of laburnum around a playground and who looked with admiration at the wall of a kindergarten that was flowered with highly poisonous nightshade - and second time four years ago in Berlin, where they had planted the very decorative ricin, the caster-oil plant around a huge sitting place with grass for the children and banquettes for the unsuspecting mothers.   

But parsley? 

I nebulously remembered that parsley in distant memory was used for pregnancy termination - and that Wise Women murmured that pregnant women should eat no parsley. And that's no old wives' tale: parsley can be poisonous - IF you eat it during or after the time it blossoms. 

(Another saying in Germany was: "Parsley helps the man to get up on his horse and the woman into the grave", hinting at the aphrodisiac and the poisonous agent - though that may have been said before Linné, when  parsley and celeriac in many old languages had the same name - even nowadays they still belong to the same plant family, the Umbelliferae

The street for whores was called "Petersiliengasse" ("lane of parsley"), writes plant expert Marianne Beuchert. In England the word "parsley bed" also has an erotic meaning. 

At the moment when parsley starts to flower it builds the poison apiol - the leaves, stem, blossoms and seeds of parsley THEN are poisonous, and  kidney and liver and uterus can be damaged, and the stomach cramps. 

But on the other hand we know that (young) parsley is delicious in soup, looks nicely on salad, and has many minerals and vitamins, is diuretic, and, and, and. 

So: if you have parsley in your garden or your balcony: don't be too proud if it survives winter. Throw it out. Sow or buy new parsley - though folks say: ""parsley seeds must go to the devil and back nine times before sprouting"  - and also: don't sow/put it into the same place as before. 

Friday 20 January 2023

January - named from Roman Janus


This beautiful painting is from "The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady" by Edith Holden - I have the facsimile reproduction from her diary written in 1906. 

I adore it - and think it is a good way to start my "nature-travel" through the year 2023. 

Outside snow is falling in little flakes. Nature sleeps, the puddles are covered with ice. This one looks like a beautiful shawl or veil. 

The few bulb plants I impatiently bought hang listless and limp over the rim of their flowerpots on the balcony table - but we both know that they are tough and at the first kiss of the sun will rise their little heads again. 

The title above is a quote from Edith's diary: "... Janus, who is represented with two faces looking in opposite directions, - as retrospective to the past, and prospective to the coming year."  


Saturday 12 November 2022

Poisonous Mushrooms


I always liked Shirley Conran's advice: 

       "Life is too short to stuff a mushroom". 

Same as "Keep it simple", but more graphic. 

This year was a very good one for mushrooms. Yet I didn't collect them in 2022 - my family was too anxious, though they could be assured that I will be cautious: I only collect chanterelles (found lots of them in Austria), bay bolete, and, if I am very lucky: porcini. 

On my cellphone I installed an App that helps to decide whether a mushroom is "good" or not - but I only do use it to get the upper hand in that mycelium of dizzy mushroom names - NOT to collect any for the pan. I join in with Pu Bear: "You never can tell with bees mushrooms.

Next year I plan to take a course at an expert of mushrooms - here in Bavaria - maybe then they will be reassured? 

Query: Is it true that a "toadstool" is always a poisonous mushroom? 



Bouquet of January: Daisies and Strawberry Leaves.

  Yesterday I went out for a stroll - it was Sunday, and the icy wind threw a fine drizzle of snow into my face. I hoped very much that it w...