Friday, April 13, 2012

Gather Ye Blossoms While Ye May (Part One)

Japanese Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The calendar turned to April, and we went in search of blossoms.


The day was gloomy and raw, so it was left to the flowers to do the work.

Virginia Bluebells

The magnolias had come early.  Many were in full bloom.

Everywhere we looked, there was another sort, among them the Elizabeth, on which the Brooklyn Botanic Garden holds the patent.

After the warm spell in late March, we'd harbored a fond hope that the Cherry Esplanade would be in bud, but with the resurgence of colder weather, the cherry trees had held off, which is probably just as well.

Still, cherry blossoms could be seen, augurs of the profusion yet to come.

Even some lilacs were in bud,

One had opened, and, passersby couldn't help but stop and take in the scent.

The weather hadn't got the message yet, but the flowers had.  Spring is here.

Listening List

For a Spotify Playlist, click on Gather Ye Blossoms.

Beethoven, Spring Sonata (Anne Sophie-Mutter, violin; Lambert Orkis, piano)

Beethoven, Symphony No. 6 (Pastoral-first section) (Christian Thielemann, Vienna Philharmonic)

Sibelius, Spring Song (Osmo Vänskä, Lahti Symphony Orchestra)

Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring (Part 1, Michael Tilson Thomas, San Francisco Symphony)

Copland, Appalachian Spring (Part 1, Martha Graham, choreography)


David said...

Our magnolias have come and gone, so it's good to see yours. How those colours do work against the grey! They stand out well against a blue sky too, of course, but are precious on your 'raw, damp' days. Lovely pics as ever, especially the last.

klahanie said...

Greetings Susan,
An enchanting delight of photos and captions that bring rejoicing to the heart, as the ongoing rejuvenation that is spring, fills our hearts and minds, with glorious, blooming hope.
Thanks for this, Susan.
And now for a bit of Beethoven.
Enjoy the blossoms.
With respect and kind wishes, Gary

Rubye Jack said...

Beautiful. All of it. I so much love Magnolia Trees. We used to go the garden in Golden Gate Park a lot and it was always special.

Suze said...

The color of the Virginia bluebells make me feel abuzz, inside. These images, together with your subtly hopeful words, make for a beautiful late afternoon read. Thank you.

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Susan:
How lovely to be looking at these wonderful images of blossom whilst, in the background, listening to the Beethoven 'Spring Sonata' - such an aptly chosen work.

During our years in Herefordshire we planted several Magnolia trees but they were always slightly prone to the late frosts which we often experienced in that fairly cold county.

Friko said...

Dare I say it, magnolias do nothing for me. Ever since I was small I have seen them as flowers for the dead; perhaps their waxy, artificial - to me - appearance has influenced me and I've never got over that feeling.

Gardener gave me a plant as a present; of course, we planted it and it is doing reasonably well although I've not allowed it centre-stage in the sun.

I am happy with azaleas and rhododendrons and absolutely love lilac. I have a small, medium sized variety, which is covered in unopened blooms. Can't wait to see it open.

So many of us are posting about the glories of nature in spring; between us, we must be doing quite a bit to lift the world's gloom.

Scott said...

Hi- Open all the doors and windows. Saturday morning,coffee,Prufrock.
I knew this mad gardener,who got a seedling of "Elizabeth". When it finally got a blossom,he threw an outrageous bash. For him it was horticultural bliss,a yellow magnolia.
What a treasure, the BBG. I love the stage the lilacs and crabs are at there now. A promise.
Wanderer introduced to me to Mutter. So lovely. A passionate, elegant power. Together with Orkis they rocked the house.
Sibelius is so heavy duty, isn't he? It seemed so dramatic and serious. Almost like a coronation. At the same time it was beautiful and made sure you were paying attention.
The piece you chose for Appalachian Spring absolutely blew me away. The utterly brilliant dance of Martha Graham. What an incredible expression dance is. It was like spiritual and athletic. Yoga and ballet set in a kind of appalachian Japan. I did some background on her. She was quite a person. Art lived through her. I'm glad her spirit is in the mountains.

The Solitary Walker said...

Pure gorgeousness!

Jayne said...

What we do when the calendar turns to April! Glorious, Susan. I could smell this post.

I've not much to time to follow the music. I'll be back for that, as well as the Minnesota post, but let me say that it's a marvelous list. And as a former modern dancer, I love the Martha Graham video. Speaking of Rites of Spring, have you seen Pina Bausch's Rite of Spring? I'd grab the Youtube link if I had more time, but it's a really striking piece of choreography, set to the great Stravinsky. Must see! :)

Steve Schwartzman said...

It's good that your were able to find so many floral delights in my old haunt. Botanists say that in evolutionary terms the magnolia is a primitive tree, but I love the forms and scent of its flowers. Photographer Imogen Cunningham did some well-known black and white abstractions of magnolia flowers:

shoreacres said...

There are times I think I'd move north again and endure winter, just for the joyousness of spring. None of the flowers that I love can live and prosper here on the Gulf Coast - no lilacs, forsythia, flowering almond, spirea and pussy willows.

Yesterday I found branches of cherry blossom in the grocery, waiting to be forced. Only $10 per stem! I nearly gave in.

Instead, I'll enjoy your photos and listen to the wonderful musical selections. Here's another you might enjoy - a familiar paean to spring, combined with some nice video editing.

Leigh said...

Yesterday we had snow again though it didn't last and if I look really hard beneath the fallen leaves I can find hints of green. I have never lived in Calgary in April so I hope I don't have too much longer before I see blossoms akin to your photos.

wanderer said...

Susan - All that bursting out all over while down here in the mountains leaves are turning. That's exotic northern hemisphere imports of course, and there's many. Our natives are evergreen (with two exceptions) and flowering rotates though all the seasons. But still, I grew up in a rambling traditional 'exotic' garden and I think I love the crab-apple most of all.

I especially liked the Sibelius, no surprise, and agree with Scott about the hints at coronation, amid the usual reserve and uncertainty but hope notwithstanding.

Mark Kerstetter said...

Your photos are lovely, the first one in particular is great. Thanks for the link to 'Appalachian Spring'. I've listened to it many times (it's so great), but I've never seen the film - extraordinary! A plus is that Noguchi, one of my favorite artists, did the set, I never knew that.

Britta said...

Dear Sue,
thank you for these lovely pictures! When the light is not that bright the colours become more intense, the blue really blue - so lovely! Botanical Gardens in big cities are a Godsent - I loved the one in Hamburg and now in Berlin, they are oasis in traffic, real resting points for the soul - seeing nature and the year passing on in plants and flowers. To be the breeder of a special magnolia is wonderful, and to see that they come out unharmed (they are so easily hurt by nightfrosts) is something to be thankful for.

Susan Scheid said...

David: I never used to like magnolias, somehow, but these were so triumphant. It simply didn’t matter, when looking at them, that it such a glowering day.

Gary: Ah, blooming hope! Just the thing we always need. Wish I’d been clever enough to come up with that as a title for the post, actually.

Rubye Jack: I remember visiting a friend in SF and going to the Golden Gate Park. Now that has one helluva Japanese garden, doesn’t it?

Suze: Those Virginia bluebells just pop at you, don’t they? We have a few in our yard, along the driveway, and I never fail to be amazed at them.

Jane and Lance: The Spring Sonata is beautiful, isn’t it? I hadn’t listened to it for a long while and was so glad to be reminded of it.

Friko: As I noted to David, I wasn’t fond of magnolia, but I now see them as a herald of spring. For one, where we are here, while it’s beautiful, flowering shrubs are few and far between, so any one of them is welcome. Now, as for the lilac, there is nothing better. We have only one scrawny one, tucked away where no one would pass by. I do wonder what the previous owners of this house could have been thinking!

Scott: Saturday morning, coffee, Prufrock, now that is an honor indeed! Wanderer it was who put me on to Sophie-Mutter’s Spring Sonata, as it happens. I think she will now be my gold standard for the violin. I love your story about the “mad gardener” and his Elizabeth magnolia. Surely worth of such a bash. And yes, isn’t Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring magnificent? I was so pleased to come across that. You’re spot on, by the way, about the “Japan” element: as you’ll see Mark has noted, the sets for the ballet are by Isamu Noguchi.

Solitary Walker: I agree—a sumptuous feast it was, even on a gray day.

Jayne: I love the thought of smelling the post. You would have been amused by folks passing by the lilacs—in fact that’s the point, not a one of them could pass by. Everybody had to stop and sniff. So aren’t you, BTW, the woman of so many talents—a modern dancer, no less. I found the Pina Bausch—she’s something else, isn’t she?

Steve: The Cunningham photographs are beautiful—and in black and white, the focus is on their gorgeous shape. I thought of your gorgeous wildflowers as I took these photographs. I tried, actually to use the flash, but failed miserably. So, had to go with what I had—I suspect you would have come back with some spectacular shots.

shoreacres: Ah, spirea and pussy willows! And you are so right—you can’t beat “Here Comes The Sun” for spring.

Leigh: How lovely to see you over here! Everyone: Leigh has the most spectacular travel blog. If you ever want to go anywhere, go to Leigh’s place first! I’m glad you enjoyed the photos & yes, I suspect those blossoms will be coming your way soon.

wanderer: Well, Sibelius is always fine, isn’t he—and I do love the crabapples, too. They often get overlooked in the surfeit of bloom, but they shouldn’t be. It’s you, by the way, who pointed me in the direction of Sophie-Mutter’s Spring Sonata. Lest you think it was idle chatter, I spent a happy evening watching one of the videos you listed on your site. She’s something else, isn’t she—not to mention her accompanist!

Mark: Nor did I have any idea until I stumbled across those videos. And what synchronicity that you should have wonderful posts up on Noguchi—not to mention the fabulous interview in Connotation Press! Everyone, do follow the thread from Mark’s “Everything in Time” post to the interview—he has some wonderful poems there, as well.

Britta: I so agree with you about dull light letting the flowers shine—and certainly about gardens in cities. Your photographs of gardens in Berlin are a gorgeous case in point. I look forward to the opening of the gardens in the Hudson Valley, too. But we must wait until May for that.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan .. your plants look at about the stage ours are .. the warmth in February and March really pushed everything out and up .. but now the cold and rain has come .. they're enjoying themselves and taking life a little more slowly.

It's the longer days I'm loving - this year I realise they make a huge difference - even it's cold ...

Cheers and now to part 2 .. Hilary

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