Borrowed Sunshine

tulips2.jpgThe weeks of soaking rain we had recently in LA were wonderful for people’s gardens, with the depressing drawback of the continued, surreal-seeming announcements, on radio and in the newspapers, that the rain was having no effect whatsoever on the drought.

In those circumstances, there was nothing more cheering to gaze upon indoors than parrot tulips. Even after they’ve been cut and put in an arrangement, these flowers continue to stretch and grow and open, with their vivid, striated colorations continuing to develop and intensify. Here, “Salmon Parrot,” “Orange Favorite” and “Libretto” tulips share space with “Climbing Joseph’s Coat”, a rose that has more than enough wattage to stand up to them, along with another rose, “Climbing Herbert Hoover,” which, although not widely grown (it dates from 1937), has the appearance and the scent of a peach, and a single specimen of the rose “Oklahoma”, which picks up the very darkest tones in all the other flowers.

tulips1.jpgAugmenting these are some terra-cotta colored freesias, which of all freesias are the most fragrant (more so even than the yellow ones), and the ivory flowers from a wonderful shrub called buddleia asiatica. One of the many different varieties of shrubs called “butterfly bush” (in this case because of the special attraction it poses for the Red Admiral butterfly) and known also as “Winter Flowering Lilac,” it’s a plant that blooms especially early in the spring, when, rather than giving off the honeyed fragrance of the more common summer-blooming buddleia davidii, it throws into the air a lighter, more haunting, almost freesia-scented aroma, like a beckoning promise.