Sunday, June 12, 2011

Red Before Rain

 Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale)

It's the perfect scarlet remembered when one is revisiting summer - a crinkled somewhat transparent magnificence through which sunlight passes without being diminished, the beams lighting up everything they touch on the other side of their journey through the red.  Think crimson here, think cardinal and carmine, think rubies in the grass... 

The hearts of poppies are dark and velvety, their petals so brilliant that they linger behind closed eyelids and haunt one's dreams at night.  The blooms are stunning when viewed against the shaggy green of the garden, and I suspect that like many of the Old Wild Mother's creations, their vibrant hues cannot be duplicated by bumbling humanity.  It is no wonder at all that so many painters have tried to capture poppies with canvas and paint.  Claude Monet was mad about poppies and painted wide swaths of them in the fields around Argenteuil and V√©theuil. Vincent Van Gogh also had a passion for poppies, and Georgia O'Keeffe's poppies are so brilliant they leap right off page, screen or canvas.

After a night of gentle rain, our own poppies are looking somewhat bedraggled this morning and tattered around the edges, but they are truly lovely, and they evoke wabi sabi, that timeless Japanese aesthetic in which aging, fading and tattered edges are cherished as beautiful in their own way and as visible reminders of transience and impermanence.

I am considering creating a whole bed of poppies this year, all the cultivars I can find that will flourish this far north, and ditto for the purple irises glittering like rain wet jewels in the grass.  I can see them all through the window as I type this, and they lift me up like cloud of swallowtails dancing along the river on a fine sunny day.

6 comments:

lunalaurel said...

I have always loved Poppies, they're so big and unashamedly brazen in their beauty. I think, probably because they grow wild, they don't get enough praise. I can't think of anything lovelier then a whole bed of them in the garden. I look forward to seeing the results this time next year if you decide to do so.

the wild magnolia said...

The "poppy dance" was a blessing for me this fine Sunday.

Stunning reds and greens, so vibrant, spectacular photos!

Thank you, for sharing!

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

I love poppies and have tried over and over to get them to grow in my gardens. No luck...
This fall I think I will sow many seeds at the edge of the woods.
Will try again :)

liliannattel said...

Poppies are gorgeous and I love irises...in other people's gardens. Our irises are beautiful when they bloom, but then the rest of summer we just have this mass of their leaves.

Livia Indica said...

You are right, that's a brilliant red!

Sky said...

we have always wanted poppies in our garden but have never tried. i may have to look into it and see if we can find a space they might like. they are just so happy being stars on the summer stage.