21 December 2009

For Winter Solstice, a little flamboyant colour

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?


  1. These flowers are gorgeous. I am proud of you for resisting. I am sure it was difficult. I liked the video and music too. One shot looked like they took it through your office window.

  2. Jodi your orchids, African violets and poinsettias are gorgeous and a wonderful way to celebrate the Winter Solstice! Thank you for the music to listen to while reading and writing here on your blog! Happy Holidays! Carol

  3. I love these photos, Jodi. The African violet colors are just delightful. The orchids, so perky and the poinsettias, so elegant. I am looking forward to shorter nights.

  4. The African violets are gorgeous - love the colors. Such a pleasant way to pass a winter day:)

  5. Jodi, That was a good song~~Thanks for introducing it to me. Bagpipes and acordion...talk about a cultural experience. It has a Celtic Cajun sound! gail

  6. A wonderful post - very uplifting on this Winter Solstice day. I enjoyed visiting your blog, and have added it to my list of faves on Blotanical. Seasons greetings, Hank.

  7. What gorgeous colors on those African violets, Jodi !

    And while my Irish Son-in-law from Cork would love to shoot the Irish who brought country music from there to the South, ( unlike most Irish he doesn't like country ) I can see the real connection, as Gail pointed out, between Celtic and Cajun.

    I'm invited to Ireland and may visit there next year. I'm so looking forward to hearing more of the music and folklore of Ireland.

  8. Jodi,

    A long time ago I decided I wasn't going to bother with orchids, because they were too much work for such small windows of interest. But then I come across pictures like yours that make me reconsider my boycott. Especially that dark maroon (?) orchid, wow. Just wow.


  9. I love the gorgeous, bright blooms you chased the darkness away with! I must learn more about orchids as they are so beguiling.

    (In fact, I think I hear them calling my name whenever I go to the garden centre...) :)

  10. Jodi girl !
    Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year coming : )
    I wish I had been there enjoying all of those plants ..I would have been hardpressed not to scoop some up and take them home.
    Sadly I am an orchid killer .. I feel terrible about it but it is best to get it out in the open and admit to it, right ? haha
    Love all the beautiful plant pictures and YES .. mornings that are lighter is my sanity point ? haha
    Joy : )

  11. Such beauty! Love all of the flowers, of course. Yet, what does one do with a poinsettia after the holidays? I may have to purchase some purple African violets - they are lovely. I shall return later to listen to your music after the fam wakes up! OH, and I adore your new banner with Mungus taking center stage!

  12. I have to agree with you on the long nights. I'm really looking forward to the longer days as they come. We're past the darkness now and moving ahead into the light! Visiting the greenhouse is a great way to get that plant fix when you need it...I would definitely have to watch my wallet! ;)

  13. beautiful new header jodi
    funny you are talking about orchids i just realized that i need one-so i am off to search today
    if i am lucky and need to ask about their care would you mind?
    and my amaryllis are sad...i wonder if the bulbs are just spent
    thank you for sharing
    enjoy your day
    tabby :)

  14. me again jodi~
    the music and video are hauntingly beautiful~
    many thanks for sharing that beauty

  15. Jodi, what a nice mix of good music (loved the video!) and beautiful images. Colour is so very welcome at the moment with our frigid temps and snow covered vistas. Those African Violet colours are pure delight and so are the orchids and poinsettias. What a happy place to visit. Thanks for sharing the flamboyance!
    Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a New Year filled with blessings.
    Yes! Longer days and shorter nights...now that's my cup of tea! It's a long haul, but we'll make it :)
    Happy Winter Solstice.

  16. Thanks for the colorful respite. The music is haunting. Loved it. I'm with you, bring on the sun and spring.~~Dee

  17. Indeed, you'll do just fine this winter, jodi! Between being surrounded by beautiful blooms, you'll be having fun foolin' around creating lovely collages and multiple exposures! Great choices in song/blooms ... I MUST have surround-sound music and flowers to suit my moods ... always African violets in my antique flow-blue bowl and a few orchids in bloom plus ... Happy Winter :)

  18. Hello Jodi, I just discovered your lovely blog of beautiful and colorful photos. Have a wonderful Christmas.

  19. Hey Jodi....thanks for the memories of the music! I'm with you...did not like the past couple of weeks and was so looking forward to the first day of winter.
    Jan. is just around the corner and it is one l-o-n-g month and then look out...spring is almost here!
    Have a "Happy Holiday" and a great "New Year"!

  20. Oh, jodi, I do not know how you resisted. You know I would not have been able to. I'm down to just one African Violet and it's not bloomed in several months. I may have been able to resist those, but never those orchids! Love the dark one.

    Yay! The days are getting longer!!

  21. Yay, yay, yay for bright colors when the days are short! I am SO happy the shortest day of the year is behind us and now we're headed in the other direction.

  22. Wow, Jodi, I loved this song! I don't think I've ever heard bagpipes that sounded so good. Thanks for introducing me to this group and this great song.

    I'm not much of a houseplant person, but I'd have a hard time, too, passing up those unusual blue violets--they're gorgeous!

    Happy Holidays and Winter Solstice!

  23. It already seemed to be longer day to day, I'm so happy about that!
    I just loved the music and video! I think I'll have to watch it again :)

  24. Hi dear Jodi, you have found the perfect way to get through it all, flowers and music! I love the header photo, I want to join in and give a pet and scratch too, it looks like so much fun. Going to a nursery with blooming things is very rewarding, especially when we take our cameras along! A very Merry Christmas and the best of the best for you and yours.

  25. Jodi, ohhh, ahhh! My violet passions are surging! A new one or 2 would be a good remedy for the long days of January, don't you think?

    I loved the bagpipes in the song as well as the beat. Must have some celtic in me somewhere.

    Have a wonderful Holiday season!

  26. The flower collages are very beautiful. I didn't know that there poinsettias come in colours other than red too. The picture of the violets is the one I like best. I like the purple tone and shades that blend so well. Wishing you and your family a Very Merry Christmas!

  27. Stunning colors...you just brightened up my evening, thanks! Kim

  28. Merry Christmas and a peaceful holiday to you.
    Karin //

  29. Good song! Love the Celtic elements.


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