Posts Tagged ‘Flowers’

anks to t

By Tricia Lunt, English Faculty

“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

Ode to the West Wind, by Percy Shelley

Glorious spring weather has descended upon Chicago, and we all welcome the days when it is incomparably lovely to live here.

I’m happy to report that I have already spent a Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field—a little slice of heaven on earth by many Chicagoans’ estimations. Rizzo and Bryant continue to be in top form, though the ivy has yet to turn green.

mikos

Get a combo!

Thanks to the warmth and sun, Miko’s Italian Ice opened early this year. My first order of the season, based on the recommendation from the friendly staff, was a raspberry mango combo. Quite simply, Miko’s makes a pleasant afternoon more delicious.

The early spring also brought with it my first house guests. Living in Chicago guarantees that people will want to visit; My sister Margo and two of her daughters came for a mini-spring break getaway, complete with a matinee performance of Hamilton (while I was at work). Their stay was reminiscent of so many slumber parties, complete with utter exhaustion after their departure!

My friends and I are picnic champs. Fruits, cheeses, hummus, salads, cookies, contraband wine—we’ve got it. Kris and I have already savored two picnics at the Logan Square monument. Alas, both excursions resulted in a patchy sunburn, which is a great reminder not to just apply sunscreen, but to bring it along, too!

I’m enjoying this year’s addition of a Divvy membership, recommended to me by friend Bill. I use it primarily for one-way or longer journeys when I would prefer to leave my own bike (Urbano) safely at home. I’ve used Divvy to bike to a brunch in Lincoln Park, divvywhereupon I rewarded myself with a mojito. Divvy bikes have also enabled me to explore the entirety of the Lakefront path, riding south to Jackson Park to visit the Osaka Garden, and my first bicycle commute to work.

Amazing how trying one new thing results in so many new adventures!  Paired with my own bike for neighborhood riding, the Divvy system has broadened my biking horizons, and I always wear a helmet.

lakefront

Chicago’s Lakefront Path

Ushered in by the early spring blossoms—snowdrops and crocuses and forsythia—for a few days, everything blooms: daffodils, tulips, cheery trees, magnolias, so I am spending as much time out of doors as possible soaking in the flowering before the new leaves fill in. Having four seasons offers the opportunity to appreciate them all; in the springtime, I get to stop and smell the lilacs.

Advertisements

By Tricia Lunt, English Faculty.

My grandfather had a flower farm outside St. Louis, Missouri, Sadly, he died before I was born, and I never met him or saw the farm where my mother and her brother, my Uncle George, were raised. I always thought it seemed an exceedingly idyllic setting for childhood—imagine growing up surrounded by flowers! My uncle, who helped in the fields, remembers it differently. Such is the way with memories and illusions.My beautiful picture

My beautiful pictureMy mother taught me a great deal, and her knowledge of flowers seems a most gracious legacy. She knows the names of most every flower in the Midwest—a skill learned from her father and passed on to her children. I adore selecting and arranging flowers, a cheerful activity my mom encouraged in my youth that remains with me. Through her example, I came to know the many ways to understand and appreciate flowers.

Most people do not love the rose better than any other flower. A friend of mine was delighted when her husband sent roses to her office for her birthday when they were dating. Ten years later, he still sends roses. She doesn’t quite know how to tell him she would prefer a change. While roses symbolize love, florists really market roses because they are sturdy and have a long blooming period, making them more profitable. There is a flower shop in my neighborhood, but it is preposterously expensive, roses go for $5 a stem throughout the year, more before Valentine’s Day: outrageous! Also, the store charges for every item. Unlike every other flower shop I’ve ever frequented, this place offers no free greenery or “filler” to augment the blooms, which just seems stingy, undercutting my typical desire to shop local; additionally, consumer reports show that grocery store flowers cost less, last longer and are a better value. Most importantly, if you do plan to buy roses this Valentine’s Day, know that the color of a rose matters.

Rose-Color-MeaningI’m always curious to discover what flowers are favorites among family and friends, as it reveals yet another distinctive aspect of their personal tastes. Leah loves tulips; Holly admires irises, both Stacy and Kris favor gardenias. Here’s where I ought to recommend The Botany of Desire. With regard to State flowers, I’m much happier with Illinois’ violet than Ohio’s red carnation (like Carrie Bradshaw, I’ve never liked carnations).

The flowers I prefer are vibrant and quirky; I appreciate the wide, optimistic face of the stargazer. Hydrangeas’ exceptional response to the soil in which they grow seems a valuable lesson in “nature versus nurture,” proof that environment can color reality. I’m fond of bouquets that include a variety of hue and shape, representing the ideal of diversity at its most lovely. I’m crazy for aromatic blooms; I’d love to buy enough hyacinths and snapdragons to fill my “Tree house” apartment.

I’m best at identifying spring flowers, probably because after a long winter, it is always a thrill to see them bloom, especially so this year. From the appearance of the first irises-1889tiny crocus peeking out from beneath the snow, I delight in welcoming flowers back to life; I eagerly await the forsythia in April as a true marker that spring has arrived. By the time the perfume of lilacs fills the air, winter seems a faint memory.

Valentine’s Day is approaching, and spring is hovering at a tantalizing distance; once again, it is time for flowers.