Archive for magnolia

Jun
18

Blooming everything

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In honor of the brief but glorious interlude of the blossoming of the lime trees (or linden, or tilia, or whatever you call them) — no visible blossoms, and in fact, no visible trees, but only soft, luxurious waves of their delicate perfume from somewhere nearby — I offer a view of the recent spring, as told by flowers.  Summer will be here in two days, and many of the flowers are already moving on. But each one of them was part of a spring which was chilly, late, and cranky, and often very lovely.

The pittosporum along the fondamenta by the Biennale is one of the first to appear each spring.  It hangs on the longest,  aging gracefully, concentrating its perfume to an almost nauseating degree.

The pittosporum along the fondamenta by the Biennale is one of the first flowers to appear each year. It hangs on the longest, aging gracefully, concentrating its perfume to an almost nauseating degree.

Roses in the Giardini, which appear to open all at once.

Roses in the Giardini, which seem to have opened all at once.

More roses.

More roses.

And yet more roses.  These seem to tend more toward the old-fashioned, Elizabethan rose, which I like.

And yet more roses. These seem to tend more toward the dog rose, which I like.

No war of the roses here; the red counterpart was planted virtually in the lap of the white roses.

No war of the roses here; the red counterpart was planted virtually in the lap of the white roses.

Then there are poppies just about everywhere.

Then suddenly there are poppies everywhere.

With tamarisk blooming neck and neck with them.

With tamarisk blooming  to keep them company.

hi

They make such a lovely couple.

There are homespun patches of garden around the neighborhood also.  This is a sage plant in the process not only of flowering, but taking over the world.

There are homespun patches of garden around the neighborhood also. This is a sage plant in the process not only of flowering, but taking over the world.

A modest lemon tree.

A modest lemon tree.

Grapes in their earliest stage.  Not a flower, of course, but I'll take signs of life in any form that's going.

Grapes in their earliest stage. Not a flower, of course, but I’ll take signs of life in any form that’s going.

Oleanders aren't among my top ten, but this edition is an exception.  It's partly the fact that it has become a tree, and partly that the tree has such a beautiful shape.

Oleanders aren’t among my top ten, but this edition is an exception. It’s partly the fact that it has left shrubdom behind to become a tree, and partly that the tree has such a beautiful shape.

Though the blooms aren't bad, I must admit.

Though the blooms aren’t bad, I must admit.

The magnolias are coming out all over.  Lovely as the flower may be, I have recently  become more enchanted by the buds and the leaves, if anyone cares to know.

The magnolias are coming out all over. Lovely as the flower may be, I have recently become more enchanted by the buds and the leaves, if anyone cares to know.

The famous violet artichoke of Sant' Erasmo is a first-rate flower.

The famous violet artichoke of Sant’ Erasmo is a first-rate flower.

And back to roses again, which have found their niche in a closed-off doorway.

And back to roses again, which have found their niche in a closed-off doorway.

 

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May
31

Big day for me

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Anyone who knows that last Sunday was the 38th Vogalonga (I was there, rowing on the six-oar balotina, as last year) might be surprised to hear that that event is not filed under “Big day” in Erla’s Cosmic File Cabinet.

My big day was day before yesterday, hereinafter referred to as the Apparition of the First Magnolia Blossom.

This is not a trick: There is a single white blossom in there -- admittedly easier to see in real life than here. Check the upper right quarter of the central tree. Trust me.

My mother had the habit (obsession) of remaining on the lookout for little signals throughout the year — animal, vegetable, mineral, comestible, aural, but especially vegetable.  The way she watched for them made them seem important. And evidently a random twist of the old DNA has passed this persistent little practice on to me.  The first seppia.  The first frog-song. It’s such a part of how I see the world that I find it odd that everybody doesn’t do it.

I used to watch for the very first leaves coming out on the small weeping willow on the canal near our first dwelling.  First leaves are celestial, filmy, diaphanous. Complete, full-grown, ready-to-use, batteries-included leaves are not. And don’t tell me that the anticipation was more meaningful/pleasurable/important than detecting the nascent foliage itself.  You might convince me that the voyage matters more than the destination, but anticipation with no fulfillment is dumb.

So I have been keeping the huge magnolia tree near the Giardini vaporetto stop under close surveillance. Tell me why the first blossom could possibly matter.  No wait — don’t tell me.  It matters.

Now I have seen it and I feel happy.  I’m not sure what I’m going to be tracking next, but there will definitely be something. Followed by something else. Until December 31, and then I start over.

That famous Next Big Thing everybody's waiting for? I'm waiting for the Next Little Thing.

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Categories : Nature
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