Oct 24, 2014

The Powder-Blue Hollyhock

How I discovered the nonexistence

of the Powder-Blue Hollyhock

Two days ago, after several sweaty hours of weeding, digging, dead-heading, pruning, planting, seed collecting, and re-potting a variety of common and 'rare in cultivation' plants I decided to take a short break, and it was while sitting, drained of energy and draining a double Gin and Tonic, that I caught a glimpse of the ephemeral powder-blue Hollyhock. I was transfixed. I stared, spellbound, and tried to separate what logic said was very unlikely, if not impossible, to what my very real two eyes (well four, if you count my glasses) perceived. I was transfixed, but I already told you that, and the amazement continued. I blinked, took off my glasses and examined the lenses. Scratched, but not likely to produce aberrations such as the red shift discovered, or first noticed by Hippolyte Fizeau. I averted my gaze. Still, a robin-egg-blue Hollyhock was blooming only thirty or forty feet away. I imagined my future assured, once the plant was patented and propagated. Then I began to worry about selecting an appropriate name. 'Heartbreak Blue' - never. 'Cock-Robbin Blue' - too many opportunities for misinterpretation. 'Sky Blue' - too blasé. 'Electric Blue' - not true, 'Blue's Blue", close, but then, an epiphany occurred, It would be 'Kind of Blue', in homage to one of my favorite jazz legends, Miles Davis.

First I had to confirm the plant really existed before I could retire to my terra-cotta/sandstone cabin in Sedona, or my imitation old-world chalet in the Napa valley - but, what could be easier, there was the plant, only a few steps away.

Needless to say I am still here, on the edge of the ephemeral dry lake, wondering about Whinkla, and coaxing Lewisias, Ipheion and Androsace to bloom where none has bloomed before. And tomorrow? Today a shipment of assorted bulbous plants arrived and the winter season seems very close.

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