Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Flowers Talking

A few months ago, WGBY, our local PBS affiliate, aired “My Family and Other Animals”, a film adaptation of Gerald Durrell’s autobiography of his life on the island of Corfu shortly before WWII. I love Masterpiece Theatre and all the other beautiful BBC films and shows that manage to end of up on our local PBS station or at our local library. That’s about all we watch here – PBS. We must be one of a small majority of Americans who don’t subscribe to cable or satellite t.v. We can get ABC and NBC sometimes if the clouds and weather are just right but Julia doesn’t know it. To tell you the truth, I have completely lost touch with what “shows” are popular now. When we visit Mom in NJ or my sisters, Julia gets exposed to what the rest of the world gets to watch which is basically junk and commercials. I have rambled...


My Family and Other Animals was so much fun that we watched it a couple times (luckily I taped it) and I made my sisters and mom watch it too. The British family consisted of Gerald, a pre-teen aspiring naturalist, Larry – an aspiring writer, Leslie – a hunter, Margot – an aspiring beauty, and their Mom who is just trying to hold all the diverse personalities together while being quite eccentric on her own. I bought an old used copy of the book and now I am reading it. Amazingly, the adaptation was very close to the book.

Last night I got to a chapter called “The Talking Flowers.” It was 12:45 and I was barely able to keep my eyes open when I got into bed. And then I started reading this:


From My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. Chapter Fourteen – The Talking Flowers


“Take flowers,” she said, pointing at the blooms that filled the room. “Have you heard flowers talking?”


Greatly intrigued, I shook my head; the idea of flowers talking was quite new to me.

“Well, I can assure you that they do talk. They hold long conversations with each other … at least I presume them to be conversations, for I don’t understand what they’re saying, naturally. When you’re as old as I am you’ll probably be able to hear them as well; that is, if you retain an open mind about such matters. Most people say that as one gets older one believes nothing and is surprised at nothing, so that one becomes more receptive to ideas. Nonsense! All the old people I know have had their minds locked up like grey, scaly oysters since they were in their teens.”

My peonies are popping and I cannot contain my joy. Peonies are it for me. They are not shy and contained. Their buds start swelling and you know that something wonderful is going to happen – like a woman’s bursting pregnant belly. And then they start blooming in all their ruffled unabashed glory and beauty.


I planted a peony bed about four years ago. At the farm Mark grew up on across the hill, there is a peony bed that has been there for over a hundred years. Every year, Betty, his mom, dumped buckets of manure on it and every year, those peonies put on their show. They are still blooming 22 years after she died. I just had to plant one too so I could leave this earth knowing my peonies would still be there in one hundred years. I like the double variety best with all their ruffles and showiness. I prefer the pink and dark raspberry shades but I must say, I am liking the white one I planted with the raspberry swirls on the inside of the bloom.

They have just started blooming and I think they are having a loud, raucous party. I wish I was invited!
Here’s to Talking Flowers and to living out of the oyster shell.

7 comments:

HVM said...

Don't worry, I don't even have a TV, and people are constantly asking me, "How do you survive?!" It makes me laugh.

Susanne said...

Your post made me giggle and remember a woman I worked with at my very "first real" job. She was not far from retirement and a good mentor for me. She was a widow lady and really liked her weekly bottle of whiskey that one of the fellows in the office picked up for her every Friday. About a year after starting there, "Dora" decided to retire and we planned a lovely dinner at a nice restaurant for her. I picked her up at her home to transport her and in doing so was able to admire her wonderful display of African Violets in her living room. I commented on them and asked her if she "talked to them?". She said, "you bet I do, I say, you grow you little B-------, or you will go in the garbage!"
I laughed so hard and have told the story several times to peoples' delight. Your post reminded me of that time, so many years ago! :)

bernie said...

What amazing flowers! It's so hot where I live, not many lush flowering plants are seen in the summer or even spring!

Bob Y said...

"what the rest of the world gets to watch which is basically junk and commercials"

Television and the internet both have good information and entertainment along with junk and commercials.
As a farmer you know that the wheat (good information and entertainment) must be seperated from the chaff (trivial or worthless matter).

patty bolgiano said...

At our new house my wonderful neighbor gave me a beautiful peony, white. Because we are in a valley it takes a little time for it to bloom (we are a week to two weeks behind the rest of the state except when winter/fall comes) It bloomed just recently and boy was it great. I love the color range and now I think I have to decide whether it is more peonys or hydrangias---I love them both and hubby is from farm stock so things grow!

Patty in Baltimore

Dianna said...

Wow. I can SMELL these peonies just by looking at them! Such colors...Peonies always remind me of Can-can girls with their ruffled skirts and exuberant personalities. Thanks for sharing.

Michelle said...

Your not that much of a minority. I dont have satelite or cable. I do own a brand new satelite dish (I've had for years, it was a gift) but its never been hooked up. My rabbit ears work just fine! And most importantly its FREE! : )