My flaming parrot

Maria-Sibylla-Merian-001

I was poking around out back today and noticed that a couple of sweet pea vines that didn’t do much of anything all summer are looking all hale and hearty, as if they just might pop out a few sweet pea flowers before they fall to the frost. This would make me dance happily around the yard, for there’s no scent in the world I love more than that of sweet pea flowers. Unless it’s lilacs. Or lily-of-the-valley. I’ll tell you, given the choice between a plain-looking flower that smells and a gorgeous flower that doesn’t, I’ll take the odiferous one every time.

(I just had the weirdest experience. The spellcheck came up on “odiferous,” so I looked it up in my dictionary. It wasn’t in there. I felt positively lightheaded. How could a word I’ve used in the past not be in the dictionary? Was I spelling it wrong? So I googled “odiferous” and got 64,000 hits. Lousy dictionary. Thought I was losing my mind for a moment there.)

Anyhow, speaking of odiferous, all 3,000 or so of that $135 in spring bulbs I ordered a few weeks back arrived this afternoon. I knew I was in trouble when I could barely lift the box. So much work to do! I had better get digging. The drudgery will all prove worthwhile next spring when all those tulips bloom … if the mice and voles don’t get to them first! I’m especially excited about my ‘Flaming Parrot’ tulips. So boisterous and flamboyant–sort of the gay uncles of the tulip world. These are the flowers that set off the famed “tulipomania” speculation in tulip bulbs: read all about it here:

http://www.businessweek.com/2000/00_17/b3678084.htm

I love it that the Dutch were this crazy over tulips. And I love it that hidden inside the “plain brown wrappers” of my bulbs is this kind of beauty. Nature’s tricky that way.

A Parrot Tulip, Auriculas, and Red Currants, with a Magpie Moth, its Caterpillar and Pupa watercolor by Maria Sibylla Meriam (1647-1717). Catchy title, huh?

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