Saturday, April 19, 2008

Loving Flowers

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while (all two of you, LOL) know that I wrote my master's thesis on the ubiquity of food in ethnic literature. I explored all kinds of purposes for food, but the one that stood out was that food is a way of handing down a culture, even when one has to adapt to a new culture in other ways, ie. learning a new language, etc. My ancestors came from Denmark, and while I don't cook a lot of Danish food, I do know quite a bit about it and do cook it occasionally besides during the holidays. Food is a way for me to connect to my past and to create memories for my children.That's a long segway to the point of my post today. I thnk that knitting and gardening fall into a similar category as food in the memory department. I don't have a huge history, family-wise, with knitting. My aunt taught me, but I've done most of my knitting in isolation--as in no one else was knitting with me--not as in being alone. I still like the connections I feel with women who knit before me. You know, like Ma in Little House on the Prairie.

Now gardening, that's another story. A love of gardening runs in my family. My parents love gardening. My grandparents loved gardening. I have many pleasant memories of going to my grandparents' ranch and seeing all of the pretty flowers that my grandparents had blooming in their garden. My grandmother usually had hydrangeas growing near her front door, and she liked to remind me of how when I was really little I had fallen from the steps into them. I told her, "I fell in the 'flowders.'" She thought that was so funny. I also remember my grandmother having lots of johnny-jump-ups in her garden. They may not be a very elegant flower, but they are my favorite; and I have been disappointed lately to see them appearing less and less in nurseries. This year I bought two seed packets of them, and all I ended up with is this one plant. I check on "him" daily to see how he is doing, and he is often a little ragged. I notice a big bite out of one of the petals this morning.

Another unglamorous flower that I grow every year are poppies (Yikes I hope the grammar police aren't close by!) Actually I just let them reseed all over my front yard. I still remember a little poem that my mom taught me when I was in kindergarten. I think I brought a little bouquet of poppies to school for show and tell and recited this poem.
Poppies, golden poppies, blooming in the sun.
Closing up at evening when the day is done.
Pride of California, flower of our state,
Blooming from the mountains to the Golden Gate.

As you can see, I tend toward easy-to-grow type flowers. I live in an area that gets less than ten inches of rain a year, so I have to baby even hardy flowers. Growing geraniums may not take much skill, but I am especially happy with this geranium (I's probably not technically a geranium.) My mom had this one growing outside her back door, and I just loved the varigated leaves. I took a little slip last summer, put it in some water near the kitchen sink, and waited for the roots to show up. Nothing! Finallly, I was ready to just throw it out, and I decided that I'd just put it in some dirt. I ended up with this. The flowers aren't anything special, but I'm so happy that it's flourishing. I'm so happy that I can have a piece of my mom's lush Northern California garden here in dry Central California.

Oh, I did do a little knitting this week. I'm making progress on my Tyroliean stockings. I've made a few mistakes, and quite a bit of unraveling and reknitting; but I'm pleased with them. I'm just hoping that I have enough yarn. I usually have so much left of Lornas Lace yarn when I knit regular socks that I thought I'd have enough. I may have to buy two more skeins of pink to knit the second sock. I don't think a different dye lot would matter for a different sock. We'll see, I guess.


marit said...

I grew up with a grandmother next door that loved gardening! She had roses, and lupines, and viola cornuta, and "natt-og-dag"++++(have no clue to the english names-lol!) She's also the one that taught me how to crochet. Now, I love crafts of all kinds, and I love a beautiful garden- but I'm not fond of gardening...I think those links to the past is very important though, both with food, crafts and gardens!
Beautiful sock!

Willow said...

One of my grandmas knitted, they both cooked and gardened. I always say that I'd rather be outside with my flowers and veggies than inside with the pots and pans.

Hege said...

Oh, how I wish it was summer.
not that I'm very fond of gardening - I just have some flowers for the kids ;)

But I think the garden thing will grow on me in the years ahead. I really want a blooming garden, but ours is a mess and needs a lot of care. And I don't have the time or energy for i right now.

Enough about that!
Hope you'll have a great Sunday tomorrow!

monica said...

My dad was a hobby gardener. He loved roses, we always had tons of them and he babied those plants.
I love the beautiful flowers, but don't care too much for maintaining the beds. Esp when it reaches 100 degrees and is super humid out.

Your sock is very pretty, I love Lorna's. Since there is so much difference skein to skein I don't think it will matter much either if you need to buy more.

Anonymous said...

Caroline.......I really do enjoy reading your blog....I am not a knitter so I "tolerate" that "talk" LOL....I am just here to see your great pics and keep connected with my pal (you!).

Happy Spring!

Wool Winder said...

Your flowers are pretty. Maybe next year you will have better luck with Johnny-Jump-Ups. It's always been one of my favorites too.

The socks are coming along nicely. If you could find the same dye lot, you might only need one more skein.

Julie said...

I like Johnny Jump-ups too and they are pretty plentiful around here. I love gardens, but I'm not so great about getting out there and doing things with it. I love the spring bulbs, and my tulips and daffodils are coming up now, but I really like the flowering bushes - hydrangeas, peonies, rhododendrons. Neither of my grandmothers did crafts nor did my mother, although my great-grandmother did embroidery. Unfortunately I never knew her, so I feel it is necessary to be the one to bring the crafting back to the family. My children will certainly remember growing up in a house with embroidery floss and yarn that's for sure. By the way, my daughter got Little House on the Prairie from school and it made me think of you. I may have to go back and revisit those books too.

JayJay said...

My family has a long history of gardening and crafting, so I agree with you about it connecting you to a cultural history.

The stockings are looking lovely!

Tracy said...

Your thesis has a very interesting topic! Must have been very exciting to work on. Love your flowers shots...johnny-jump-ups are among my favorites, poppies too! Happy Days ((HUGS))

Willow said...

I love the Getty Center! I like it better than the Villa.

About winter weather in Malibu--do you remember the song, 'It never rains in Southern California, but it pours, oh baby, it pours'? Yup, even SoCal gets its weather.

Janice said...

Johnny Jump-Ups are my ex-husband's favorite. I love them, too. One year I drove from nursery to nursery in the Bay Area to find seeds. Fortunately the huge redwood planter bloomed full of them that year.
Then I made him a cover for the outdoor chair, but I had to cheat and use viola-printed fabric.