Saturday, April 23, 2011
Adult Pleasures IX: Surprises
Who doesn't like to come home to candles ablaze throughout the dining room, up the stairs, and into the boudoir?
Who doesn't like a surprise birthday party?
Who doesn't like an unexpected card from a far-away friend or acquaintance?
Surprises come in many forms. We simply like to highlight the pleasant ones.
But sometimes surprises are, well, downright atrocious: like the burst pipe in the basement, or the exploding hot water heater, or the roof that suddenly drains onto your prized antiques or closet full of suits. We don't like to refer to those; and if we do, it is usually years after the fact, that is, after the hefty repair bills have been paid and the shock and anger have long dissipated.
And then there are different kinds of surprises: ones that strike us immediately as wrong but which, after a bit of time has past, are welcomed and perhaps even celebrated.
Last summer,Viet and I spent several weeks touring a small portion of Europe, and I brought back 50 tulips bulbs from the Netherlands: 10 each of Corona kaufmanniana tulips (of bright yellow with an inner corona of striking red); Tulipa Triumph White; Princess (Prinses) Irene (orange with red flashings); Tulipa Triumph Deep Blue; and Queen of the Night Black.
The Corona tulips--the first blooming tulips--regaled us from late March well into April.
The white tulips opened on 17 April, and the Princess Irene on the 20th of April.
Then, the black tulips buds began to engorge, and on the 21st, they opened.
Except they were not black. They were yellow. Mislabeled.
I was miffed.
And then I looked at what I thought were the Princess (Prinses) Irene and saw some blue coloration. Those were actually the BLUE tulips (mislabeled).
Today, 23 April, the Princess (Prinses) Irene are about the open (picture not provided until they actually open).
I remained agitated, but who can remain agitated at a flower?
The yellow tulips are actually quite spectacular: fringed edges and black centers accentuate the magnitude of the color yellow.
And the red tulips with tinges of blue are in their own right perfect for the garden: they converse with the May Night Salvia and play upon the red-hot pink of the azalea which is only now coming into full bloom, their flamboyance tempered by the ethereal white tulips.
I'd like to say I planned this riot of color, but clearly I did not. Sometimes the controlling personality of the gardener just needs to take a backseat to the garden itself, and let it work its magic on us.