108 Memories of Purple Rain and Journeys of Grass from Wood and Sea

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A very contrary September,wet Saturdays, sunny Sundays, hedgerows are now turning orange, leaves crisp and curl inwards, but a favourite of British gardens and urban walks still will be, as long as possible, the purple Buddlea.   Struggling through the disappearing hours of daylight as Autumn makes its way, it allows us to savour the memories of its vibrant best in highest summer. As violet’s intensity gradually distills to paler mauvey tones, it will still attract the butterflies and bees and be in total denial of any seasonal change. It seems that all Nature tries to  grasp and keep its youth for as long as possible, especially when it realises that even the best of youth has to change.

In Summer,  the grass is always greener, but when the sun is at its hottest and most life-giving, we yearn for the shade. Those enchanted hidden woods by oldest streams become our dream. Walking through that land, and being guided by the water, the story of ourselves becomes visible as river and wood make their exit to the sea.

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Follow that water out of the woods, over the rocks and into the sand.  As the tides part the rocks, salty flowers and gentle floating hairlines of seaweed waving gently on shorelines and rock pools, are but a few metres away from their own evolutions through the swirlings of acrid salt, light and time. These resulting structures which form Nature’s novel “Endeavours of Algaeic to Algebriac”, now sit in less than a few metres from each other, yet countless millions of years apart.

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Such a constant exposed clamber it was through solar wind, rain, sun and storm before reaching the patient guard of higher rocks and clifftop soil. Before our saltless green grass  grew up on “Jerusalem” hills, their feet in ancient time, dragged and pushed their identities as the lowliest harsh thorns and flattest lichen. As such, long, long before they could reach that silent watching place of Walter de la Mare’s  “forest’s ferny floor”, they were forced to be cruelly wretched.  Martyred before a green still peace could be possible, Flora’s evolution required pilgrims of chlorophyll just trying to find some solace on upper ground.

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Up on the cliffs, a strange coastal ‘eidelweiss looking’ dry flower in the C21st summer comes equipped with mathematical precision in its central dial.  Growing alongside its crisp clean dry creaminess, the business of wild, blackest juniper berries in small bushes and then just below, the impartial rock yellow succulents, neither water plant or hill grass.

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The whole scene becomes a triumph of summer coastline. I can touch it now. Watch the sea go out, watch the sea come in.  In the passing of an afternoon, just there in the sunshine, with a few hours a-wandering, the world can be summed up for much much more than a few moments in passing. Rising to the top of the cliff is now a land. Green perfection. Memories are made of this.

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© 2015 La Floralie


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107 Floral ballet miniatures: Gladioli’s pas de deux with her shadow…

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It was a drab afternoon in the vase of Life and facing the very blandest of walls, even the former brightness of the floral ballerina in her perfect once vibrant, sunset salmon pink tutu could not resist the dullness of a rainwash of an ageing summer’s day. But now sadly fading, what was there to do?  Feel the approach of truth and time;  await the rising of the evening electric light, listen to the wall and reflect with the company of one’s shadows.

It could be a very fine dance if one let it.  Even Margot Fonteyn danced Romeo’s Juliet in her late 50s. Just because of a seasonless and blueless day, just because of continued English rain and overhanging coolness,  despondency did not have to take hold. She would with grace, gradually assume her new form, but enjoy her fully petalled memories with relish and gratitude. And with herself and with her imaginary ” once-loved” brought back to life from the high summer days of mid July, and who shared the same vase, rather than play the tragic heroine of the ill fated romance,  the future would instead, be set for hope and amends with the past. Summer did have to move on,  there will be no resistance as Autumn will begin to feel its way from tonight.

The musical choice, the Holst’s Venus,  Bringer of Peace, London Symphony Orchestra. Delicate and joyful as all gladioli are.

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© 2015 La Floralie

106 Exploring the Space Age with the Passionflower

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High summer always brings the fervour of ideas, enthusiasm and hope to a peak of adventure. In our world of cabled communication, and with our increasing cleverness and ambitious quest to explore 100 million solar systems for “other life” and more besides, the rest of us may marvel at one man’s bequest of $100 million for the task and how it can access research into those 100 million solar systems for hopeful future ‘visitations’.

On such a generous scale of sponsorship, it is the human buying signal rather than an extra-terrestrial ‘bleep’,  which can generate significant primeval emotions to stir with speed and rise from the deep within the human core.  Such excitement accomplished an instant high fever pitch across  the global press. If ever on the journey for earthly truths,  we can certainly reach anybody across the planet and instantly with the twittering of gossip and the promise of money.

The purpose of that pledge is to create action on the road to “all important” self discovery.  News of such a far reaching experiment will have surpassed over most of our global population of almost 7bn, and we live in the Age of the New Renaissance, who knows what lies ahead? Possibly Nature.

Passiflora lands this summer

During all this commotion, on the surface of planet Earth in the balmy British summer, Flora’s bounty continues to flourish. Like the global press, Nature can be uncontrollably rampant and in the very same week as the Stephen Hawking announcement, one of Flora’s most ardent summer explorers, the passiflora,  began to blossom.

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A clambering army of passionflower vines could have been deliberately designed for the task of outer worldly communication. With its own type strange and exotic type of beauty, as these individual flowers grow to maturity, they each contain their own space discovery centres. When they flower, passionflowers only respond to the most intense of cosmic rays. As they open, myriads of botanic observatories hosting their own variety of exotic radio telescopes, will investigate the complexities of Nature’s astrophysics, angling themselves for full reach of the sun’s signals.  Not just a species of bizarrely beautiful little faces, these starry-eyed floral ‘creatures’ come fully packaged with their own wiring  and are ready to unfurl and connect on demand within the daily spin around our solar system at the drop of a sun’s ray.

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During the eons of many a Sunday afternoon snooze, it would appear that such flora have developed the fine art of communicating “aliens” for free. They take their science from the sun and have perfected the craft of ‘light response’ through Time itself.  From Greece to Japan, passiflora are also known as the ‘clock flower’,

New World history, Old World culture

Long before the Space Age, in a very different evolution of exploration and discovery, after Christopher Columbus had discovered the Americas,  the New World provided the fascination with an almost unlimitless range of new botany. Whilst there were in existence some 15 or so Old World passionflowers, in eve of the New World just one new flora to satisfy the appetite of the senses could justify the budget of many journeys of high risk across seas and jungle. Passifloraceae revealed dozens more and now we know of over 530 known species.

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Passiflora’s spiritual passage

Through the centuries,  passiflora became a powerful and sacred symbol, embued multifarious meaning across the continents. Its peculiar form lent itself to many religious interpretations. Its very name comes from Christianity, symbolising the Passion of Christ, passion being the most profound of spiritual love. For the Christians, its 72 central filaments represented the crown of thorns, 10 petals for the most faithful disciples, whilst its centre was seen as the cross of the crucifixion, but also the chalice of the Holy Grail.

In the old New World, the ancient civilizations of the Incas, Mayas and Aztecs, the sun was the centre of their worship. The passionflower’s sun like radial centre, contributed to the rich mythology of a plant also known as the ‘Vine of Souls’, where inside a shrinking petal hub as it develops an enlarging orange fruit, it also houses the spirits.

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For North native American Indians, the beauty of the passionflower was always the most prized, whilst in Asia’s India, again the structure of the flower also has many divine meanings, with the colour blue being especially auspicious as the colour of spirituality and associated with Krishna.

A most modern explorer

It would seem that at least in this world, through our many religions and cultures, the passiflora has been communicating with us all the long from our old worlds to new philosophies. Now in the age of solar science and blessed with an evolution of a DNA with rich diversity, gifts of colour, pharmacy and food, what will the New Age passionflower possibly bring us next? It is a most willing and avid explorer.

With its own natural telescope, if we are perceptive enough, as our flora contains knowledge built up slowly and deliberately, over millions of years, if we did happen to be the only detectable real “life”, which communicates with a vast and amazing history and range of experiences and wonders, might our plants be able detect the subtleties of the universal and solar unknowns which the human connective tissue cannot?  We already look to them to do so.  How will Flora unravel the secrets of our solar futures? Plants have inspired the human spirit, been responsible for human survival and  evolutionary theory suggests  that human life is also derived from plants as well.

Can you hear me Major Tom?

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/space/11751143/Stephen-Hawking-it-is-time-to-hunt-for-alien-civilisations.html


© 2015 La Floralie

100 The Saharan trail mix of Magnolia Grandiflora

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Come early July 

…….in England and not before, these Gulf blooms will be ready.

Once in high summer, Wisley Gardens in Surrey, England I smelt this flower and had not experienced anything quite like it. Its intense perfume is the call of the exotic. If a flower ever wished to compete  with a rose in its perfection, fragrance and then empress status in its gigantic blooms, this must surely be it. One becomes locked in attention to its sheer magnificence.

Thornless, waxy  and evergreen, able to reach for the sky with inaccessibly high blooms and frustratingly visible, the flower will be just out of reach.  With majesty and grace it is unapologetic  “Look, admire, but you may not touch!”

After seeing a few trees in full bloom in Paris exactly this time last year, I was amazed to find a member of flora royalty gracing a small corner garden in my local neighbourhood, but so grateful I had caught sight of it. A grand gesture for a simple house with a garden defined by a washing line of clothes and  a neat rainbow collection of pegs. This tree was left to a life to look over the garden wall.

I have been watching this tree for 2 days.

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Friday I passed,  and saw how on a day of cloud, this closed bud was not at all ready to socialise.  I thought it would take another few days to open. Yesterday morning it was tight shut, but by afternoon, little did I know to its intentions.

After the nights thunderous rain and awaiting for the sunlight to become stronger, the blend of that watering and humidity, and that blossom had burst open.

Sunday, the  mid morning’s warm air on the back of my neck moved my footsteps towards the tree,   beckoning me to observe its progress once again.  Of course it would only perform to ‘open’  in the right circumstances. One could hear the silent thoughts:

“…do not have illusions of grandeur if you can not live up to them, the weather and light must be absolutely right….”

Just a few hours earlier when the light had been unsure, everything was held in delicate balance.  Unless the sky was going to clear and the sun to shine its brightest, for all flora  to be seen, Magnolia Grandiflora is not just going to flower in its own company. It might be independent, but it begs maximum attention to justify expending its immense energy. Such is this resource one to make a wise investment, or risk a waste for fragrance to be lost in mediocrity. Its scent perfumes are beyond the power of any other flower.

Today’s Saharan warmth had done its job, travelling across continents, it had followed its southern beauty to waft its intense, sweet balminess from the perfect white cup into the world around it.

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Few will ever care to look, or view upwards within such a modest brick wall habitat  to see where such a rich aroma will be originating. Such is the clever wisdom to keep one’s riches hidden, only on view for those who wish to see it. This must be one true floral statement in omniscience. It knows, sees and has everything.

© 2015 La Floralie

96 Up close and personal

The physical attractiveness of some can be truly magnetic. Ranging from the typical classic beauty to particular qualities of the unusual and individual, the magnolia possesses highly contrasting aesthetics of appearance for Autumn and Summer, and this paradox proves to be the bedrock to its clock from season to season.

In Spring and early Summer, the blossoming beauty pushes hard through the unforgivingly ugly seedcasings of Winter. This flora is a form which contains both beauty and beast, Jekyll and Hyde. Feel its seasonal detailing and charisma by clicking on the images for a further close up and personal interaction with its changeable, but utterly engaging character.

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From the beguiling, carved eye sculptures from Winter,

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To softest facial hair and firm neck in Spring;

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With the dual appeal of petal soft complexion and 5’o clock growth or trendy beard,

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And perfectly formed pinked, blood rushed lips.

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Only on the most microscopic observation will one view the furry layer on the edges of our ear, and exciting ripples in petalled skin. All nuances for the strange powers of sensuality.

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Nature’s soft looks brings memories of youth and beauty, but in Winter years, when conversation of floating petals on the Spring and early Summer breeze finally ceases,  hardened flappers become the necessity of the cold season, deafest wood keeps the ancient secrets of evolution safe and sound. How can a plant manage to conserve its energy and proceed to alternate between the fresh face of blossom to a season of ageing and maturity? The vertebrates are not capable of this type of renewal and growth.

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With new warmth and light attention of Spring to Summer, the ageing process then appears harnessed. The tree flowers once again, and as it gets older, there are only more blossoms and it becomes even more beautiful, proving that with maturity, ageing can apparently bring with it more procreative energies and benefits……Well, well, well…..breathtaking alchemy indeed.

Hmmm…..Magnolia,…….through the seasons, hardiness, softness, energy, stillness, colour and power, wisdom and constancy – you could be my type of flora….

© 2015 La Floralie


93 From the floating of nothingness

The rush for the light. Isn’t that what we all wait for? When May comes, after so very long last, it arrives in not bundles, but the canopies of the tree leaf. Green beautiful tree leaf, the domed “Grand Palais” of summer, Nature’s own parasol, brolly  and even a light Spring showerhead all rolled into one.

Out of bare and dull branches,  the air of Winter’s floating nothingness gradually found its destiny. Only after first blossom, May defines its role with a sudden, almost overwhelming abundance of verdancy. No longer wondering where to go, what to cling to, where to escape from,  all  airspace becomes busy. Nothing is not nothing for very long.

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© 2015 La Floralie