hana ibara chokkei wo dasu ko neko kana
poking her nose
into thorny wild roses...
I went to a trade fair for honey manufacturers. Came home with loads of freebies.
This pretty little wildflower flourishes in my garden. It is a wood sorrel, also called oxalis, which in Ancient Greek was just the name of this and related plants, with nothing known further back. Sorrel is a Germanic word, connected with sour perhaps.
When we were very young we were shown the ‘two noses’ illusion by my Dad.
If you cross your fingers and touch a small object (such as the tip of your nose), there will seem to be two of whatever it is. Not being able to see the object strengthens the illusion, and because you can’t see the end of your nose very well it is a suitable tactile target. Besides, using your nose is amusing.
This illusion has been known for at least two thousand years. Aristotle wrote (Metaphysics Book 4):
It’s an example of a tactile illusion. There are a lot of optical illusions known but illusions of touch are less common.
When I was very small I thought I could literally stretch up and touch the stars.
I got a chair, but it still wasn’t enough.
Say about my
A watering can is the gardener's friend, and I wondered about watering cans in the archeological record. Here's a handsome example from the ill-fated Herculaneum.
Bloke down the pub said he built a skyscraper with a thousand floors. I thought, that’s a tall storey.
I predicted my business would make money and it did; a kind of self-fulfilling profit, see.
Why did Descartes get through so many hankies? Because he had a Rene nose!
In a list of the most influential French people I’d put Descartes before Dior.
I was going to get a brain transplant, but I changed my mind.
- Livestock Bucket.
- Ice Bucket.
- Mop Bucket.
- Commercial Mop Bucket.
- Car Washing Bucket.
- Ash Bucket.
- Industrial Pail.
Q. Why are pollen and nectar the absolute best?
A. Because they are the bee’s needs!
Benny Andersen was a popular Danish poet I recently came across. I rather like his witty verses. Here’s the first verse of Restlessness, translated from the Danish by Michael Goldman.
My suitcase opens wide imploring
fill me with socks
stuff me with shirts and underwear
fatten me with folded things
load me with longings and a shaving kit
I beg you
give me one more chance
to be tumbled around in trunks
relegated to backseats
treated like a dog on conveyor belts
let me be emptied
put through customs
with dirty socks
let my contents spill out onto foreign sheets
hang on interesting hangers
plop in bidets with a guttural accent.
We'll gather lilacs in the spring again
And walk together down a shady lane
Until our hearts have learned to sing again
When you come home once more…
My fellow gardner sent me a photo – is this lilac? It smells lovely – I thought yes but uploaded it to Name This Plant, Microsoft's visual search on Bing, and it came back with Syringa. But a little more digging revealed that is indeed lilac, which is one of about a dozen plant species in the Syringa genus. It originates in the Balkan and the Greek name is paschalia, to do with Easter; pascal is derived from pascha = passover.
The name lilac ultimately stems from Persian nil = blue, which has a variant form nilak, and it has reached us via French < Spanish < Arabic. This made me think of the colour eau-de-nil ("water of the Nile"); could there be a connection.
Well perhaps. The Romans and Greeks called it Nilus and Νιελος, but beyond that the source is very uncertain. However, one possible root that's been suggested is indeed nil, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nile#Etymology_and_names
The first rose appeared today and it's a beauty.
A Unique Business
We offer a hairdressing service and also a private detective agency.
I THOUGHT I COULD MAKE IT
My garden is so overgrown
Nothing there but tall ferns
Which the occasional bear visits.
Everything’s gone to bracken and bruin.
Always complains when I sit on it
I don’t know why
I’ve done it a thousand times before
Perhaps it’s lonely.
We've been working hard to create a pocket wildflower meadow on the front lawn. There are a few introduced species; for example Snake's Head Fritillaries and Cyclamens; but also a whole mix of weeds that grow naturally round here. The latter are all wildflowers though, so we will manage rather than remove them. I counted at least 12 flower species on the go last week, not including grasses. We are adding to the variety and have recently put in some plugs of Yellow Rattle, and we shall plant more plugs in the autumn.
We decided we needed a 'cultivated corridor', a mown passage, to get more easily to the herb trough (that you can just see to the right of the path toward the end, but also to show a balance between management and nature.
We hope this little wildflower meadow will please the eye and provide an environment in which our all-important poillinators will flourish.
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