Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blooms Day Since 1904

James Joyce was not a gardener. His subject matter was lower-middle-class Dublin at the turn of the twentieth century and his explorations of that city's life form some of the greatest literature written in English: modern, difficult, anti-romantic, and dense with quotation and allusion. If you should say "I had an epiphany," you will echo Joyce. He took the word out of its religious context and made it into a moment of extreme insight--as though visited from above--that first his characters experienced in Dubliners, and now, over a hundred years later, all of us still experience from time to time.

If you have  an epiphany out in the garden on a fine June 16, you have entered Joyce's world, even if you've never read Dubliners or Ulysses. On this day people worldwide celebrate Blooms Day, comemorating June 16, 1904, the day on which the events of Ulysses take place, the day during which  Leopold Bloom perambulates about Dublin (you can find more information at the James Joyce Centre). This morning I pulled out my old copy of Ulysses and was amused to find this note on the flyleaf: "Started Blooms Day, 1983 and completed August 15, 1983. Adrian Ayres." And notes throughout. So diligent I was then.

Of course mid-June's often delightful weather is a highlight of our year, at least in the northern hemisphere. In my garden, some things are in flower that have been blooming here perhaps since my house was built in 1904. They include orange daylilies (or "grandma lilies"); tall, very fragrant white lilies; and Creeping Bellflower--all fairly degage and, some think, weedy. They're also pretty, and comemorate the first and subsequent owners who always gardened well and kept the soil in good shape.

Other non-natives include: Stargazer Lilies, Geranium sanguinum 'striatum,' Rose Campion (Lychnis coronaria), and Nepeta.

Natives include: Coreopsis, Beebalm (Monarda didyma; M. bradburiana is done), Purple Coneflower, Celandine Poppy (repeat), Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium augustifolium), Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens) and  and the startlingly red and yellow Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica).

Ate the first ripe raspberry yesterday. It's time to get some jars and lids for making jam.

Happy Blooms Day to all.

7 comments:

Edith Hope said...

Dear Adrian, I very much enjoyed all the literary references in this posting.

What a marvellous variety of midsummer flowers you have!

Adrian Ayres Fisher said...

Thanks, Edith, it was sparked by your last post that began with Irish writers.

Elephant's Eye said...

I linked back to your poetry post today. We love words.

Greenearth said...

Loved Ulysses and interested to hear of Blooms Day. I live in the Southern Hemisphere but June is my perfect gardening time as is a struggle with the heat in summer. For me Blooms Day is also the perfect time in the garden.

Noelle said...

We were blessed to have traveled to Dublin and heard many wonderful things about James Joyce. I grew Coreopsis and Purple Coneflower in my previous home, which makes me wonder why I don't have any in my current home? I need to rethink my garden :-)

jeansgarden said...

Adrian, I love the fact that you waited a day and did your bloom post on Blooms Day. Delightful! -Jean

Adrian Ayres Fisher said...

Elephant's Eye, yes, words and how they help us reconnect to the world in new ways.

Greenearth, I'm glad to hear from someone else who has read it. I have much to learn about other parts of the world.

Noelle, I hope to go to Dublin someday. The nice thing about Coreopsis and Coneflower (besides being so easy), is their attraction for bees and butterflies.

Jean, thanks.