I was contemplating writing about poinsettias* as a Christmas topic that is not derived from our own garden. Though I am not sure that I have anything to say about poinsettias that I have not said before. My world has become so much smaller this year. But then I came across two minor incidents that seemed to capture hope.
Christmas this year seems especially poignant. While we, in our archipelago of five million, can lead close to normal lives, nothing, anywhere, is normal. Our degree of disruption is just less than so many other places and we can go about our day to day business without fear. Our hearts go out to those in other countries where life is so very difficult and spirits are low.
My local town of Waitara is widely regarded as … fairly unprepossessing, shall I say? But two sights yesterday made me smile. Blink and you might miss the first one. It is in the bottom left of the photo.
Not a lonely little petunia in an onion patch but a brave, little, self-seeded petunia flowering in a sea of ashphalt and concrete right beside the gutter. The seed must have fallen from a hanging basket above. A tiny beacon of hope and survival, maybe.
Along came a woman with her hair wreathed in Christmas tinsel. I asked her if I might photograph her from behind, to preserve her anonymity. Though, upon reflection, you don’t go out adorned like that if you wish to remain anonymous. She turned so I could photograph the rear view and then told me I could photograph the front if I wished. Is she not both brave and beautiful?
May you find your own little harbingers of hope if Christmas is a difficult time for you this year.
*Should you wish to know more about poinsettia, I can refer you to
1) The travesty that is the ‘cream’ poinsettia https://jury.co.nz/2015/01/23/plant-collector-the-cream-poinsettia/
2) cultural requirements for the poinsettia https://jury.co.nz/2014/12/12/garden-lore-friday-19-december-2014/
3) a note about the universality of the poinsettia – this time in China in a brief para and photo at the end of this piece: https://jury.co.nz/2016/05/17/postcards-of-china-4-rocks-improving-vehicles-and-plants-both-ubiquitous-and-not/
But I do not appear to have shared these photos of a splendid poinsettia flowering in front a friend’s house in New Plymouth in June this year. I think he told me it was just a house plant he had put into the garden where it grew and grew.
We do not have a poinsettia here in any shape or form, though I did once try planting out a Christmas houseplant whereupon it just became insignificant for reasons explained in the second link above. Had I been more patient, it may have ended up looking as exotic and large as our friend’s garden specimen.