It's no secret that I'm not a fan of long nights and short days, with the exception of one particular Long Night. I take great delight in chasing the darkness away with flowering plants, lush foliage, and lots of colour around my office to help lighten the days.
A trip to Den Haan's Greenhouses in Middleton on Saturday led me on a magical tour of brilliant colours, in African violets, in phalaenopsis orchids, in hibiscus and poinsettias and kalanchoes. I'd never seen colours quite like those in the saintpaulias/African violets, top photo. And those are really accurate colours, because I changed the setting on my compact digital and got quite good. The china blue in those blue-and-white ones! I resisted the urge to bring home more of them, at least this week.
I think even more than African violets, I could become a collector of phalaenopsis orchids just for the incredible flower colours and patterns they have. I have three at the moment: a green one, a deep magenta/marbled one and the green one with magenta striping, seen in the above collage. They are exquisite, and so easy to grow--they take my less than ideal conditions with no problem at all, and flower for literally months on end.
My trip to Den Haan's was to get poinsettias and to look for Christmas ornaments, two of which I found, as you saw in my previous post. I was really delighted with the health of the poinsettias at the nursery, as well as with the colours. There were no blue or orange or spangle-painted monstrosities, just a couple of naturally bred oddities; the yellowish one in the lower lefthand corner, and a red one dusted/mottled with white. They had them in all sizes, but I bought four small ones, one in each of four colours, and am very pleased with them.
As I mentioned above, there's only one Long Night I like, even love: the song 'Long Night' by Newfoundland group Rawlins Cross. The song was written in honour of two late Newfoundland musicians, fiddler Emile Benoit and the founding member of Figgy Duff, Noel Dinn. It has a driving, hypnotic beat to it and is perfect for celebrating Solstice and the longest night of the year. If you watch the video, hang 'er down if you don't like the first minute or so; it's an amazing song and well worth five minutes of time. It's introspective, broody and yet positive, just like this longest night--and as of tomorrow, the days start getting longer.
Between good music and happy plants, I'm gonna get through winter just fine. Remind me of that, please, when we hit the dreaded Farch, okay?