It started with these . . .

I made a trip to the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market on Wednesday last week because I needed a bunch of Narcissus flowers for a photo. You see, we had this pesky little blank space on one page of our book project and I wasn’t quite satisfied with any of the pictures I had that fit the general topic. But I did have an idea about how to fill it.

We’re in the late stages of weaving and editing The 50 Mile Bouquet together into book form right now, before it goes off to the printer, but not so late a stage that I won’t still fight to make it even better, wherever I can. After five years of giving it my all, I’d be crazy to start taking the easy way out now.

Unfortunately there were no cut daffs available anywhere I checked within my neighborhood, not in the grocery stores or the florists shops. And truthfully, there weren’t any at the wholesale flower market either during the first week of January, but a quick phone call did confirm that there were dozens of little pots of forced bulbs available. Of course, none of them had any blooms yet, but they did have a few buds, so I boogied on down to Georgetown, bought several of the most mature looking pots, then took them home, watered them and put them in a nice warm place. And, voila, by midday Friday I had the requisite handful of blooms . . .

I needed to make a shot like this:

Having achieved my objective by mid-afternoon last Friday, I’ve long since moved on to other pages and other problems seeking solutions, but that hasn’t stopped me from many more delicious moments of pure pleasure as I’ve watched these Narcissus cyclamineus ‘Jet Fire’ bulbs I brought home continue to push out even more cheerful blooms. Finally, this morning while I was waiting for the teapot to boil, I used the few minutes to snip several more opened blooms to add to that first handful, and this, this is the gift that now graces my kitchen window . . .


As you can see, the blue mason jar, the green stems and the rich yellow and orange Narcissus blooms absolutely vibrate with life and color on an otherwise dreary day. And there beside them, and in stark, curvaceous contrast is an oyster shell from an early morning beach breakfast with Miss Mary, gathered last summer when we vacationed on Hood Canal, and emerging poetically from within it, a single, gray-green, Tillandsia, an air plant.

Sweet and salty. Lush and arid. Warmth and cool. During this time of year when all those run-together, amalgamated tones of gray prevail over so much of the Northwest’s visual landscape, it feels especially decadent to have such abundant color upon which to feast ones eyes. But I wonder, is it only me that revels just as completely in the metaphorical palette cleanser of the stark bromeliad seaform beside my opulent jar?


9 thoughts on “It started with these . . .”

  1. Well yes the palette cleanser is a bit of a stretch, but I just wanted to let you know I like daffodils no matter how you say it, where you put them, or what you say about them. Anyway, the Tillandsia you presented to me in a shell died. My daffodils are blooming in my garden. Metaphors ???

    1. Saxon, if you’re implying that the death of that Tillandsia is a potential metaphor for our friendship, I hope you are sorely mistaken. But I’m happy to know that your daffs are abloom and I am only slightly tweaked in the knowledge that my word soup tasted bitter on your outstretched reader’s tongue.

  2. I’m not sure about cleansing, but I like the organic sweep of the delicate tillandsia shoot swooping down and left to embrace the upright mass of the mason jar and soften the hard horizontal of the windowsill. More yin-yang to me.

    1. Dear Evelyn, you cannot know how badly I needed someone to say something nice to me today. You have just saved the day and left me smiling. I’m so glad your playful eyes see and understand.

  3. David,
    I see the whohoo in the sink now. I like it. Not being horticulturally experienced (I grew corn and alfalfa as a farm kid), I’m not familiar with the Tillandsia. But, the reflection of the curving archs in the glass make me wonder if there isn’t more fun to be had there. Someday.
    As always, thanks for sharing.

  4. My favorite flower with Tillandsias, GORGEOUS. You are inspiring me to learn more about my digital camera and take better photos for my blog. I’ve had my Nikon FM forever but it’s my first digital and I’ve been too casual, I haven’t seen the potential in the plants and the light. Thanks for inspiration! I’ve bookmarked your blog.

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