Tag Archives: blue

Bee Wilderness

I am bee-ing uncharacteristically envious. My blogging friend  Ruth,  who reflects on life in central Christchurch, is now a host parent  to 20,000 bees. She is part of a “buzzy movement” to bring  bees into the city’s  green spaces and gardens, as well as onto the city ‘s roof spaces. I am envious because I would love to host a hive but, sadly,  most of my neighbours wouldn’t love me if I were to become a host family.  ( I can hear the complaints about bee droppings on their washing  before I even finish this thought in my head 😦 )

Sigh! But, even though a hive would be a difficulty, I do have a flourishing bee population in my garden, anyway. This is mainly because, this year, I have left the plantings, in my raised garden beds, to run to wilderness.

The Wilderness

The Wilderness

I was about to replant the beds with orderly rows of vegetables when I realised that, by doing so, I would be removing a vital food supply, and haven, for the  bees and  little birds. I reasoned that it was easier for me to find an  alternative supply of vegetables than it was for the small ones to find sustenance elsewhere. So the wilderness of overgrown parsley,

Parsley Paradise

Parsley Paradise

leeks, sage and self-sown borage

Self-sown Borage

Self-sown Borage

and  cerinthe remained.

Cerinthe, sweet as honey..

Cerinthe, sweet as honey..

My reward….no honey… but the  bee chorus  is so humming that I can hear it from at least a metre’s distance.  The wild growth in  the planter boxes is supplemented, in the background, by the prolific flowering of my  ceanothus   blue sapphire . They are a-shimmer with bee activity, although you would hardly think so, since I have only managed to capture one of their number!

Ruth’s bees may travel up to five kilometres to gather food. I wonder if I am close enough for any of them to visit me. Wouldn’t that be lovely if they did?  Meanwhile Jack and I enjoy the bees that are already here.

Jack bee-listening

Jack bee-listening

© silkannthreades

Be still….and listen

My recent posts have been noisy and busy, by which I mean full of details and links and information. Today, I made a promise to myself to quiet my loud mind and try, try to be still with my thoughts and my post. (But it’s  hard to restrain myself; so hard…..)  Here goes; be still…….

I adore the work of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.

I adore the work of nature along my garden path.

Blue pathway

Blue pathway

And did I mention that I adore the paintings of  Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres; the rich fabric, the colours, textures, details, the sweet plumpness of the curves….. every moment my eyes linger on this painting of Madame Moitessier, I discover new delights…

And did I mention that I adore Nature’s Canvas too, with its myriad textures,

Details

Details of Ajuga the Bugleweed

soft folds, jewel-like colours, tiny, ever-surprising details and

and silken opulence.

Be still…… and listen; do you hear Spring singing in the garden? Can you see the music playing?

Still

Still

“When the chamber of the scarlet-clothed Hours is opened
And the nectareous flowers usher in the fragrant spring,
Then are scattered, then, on the immortal ground
The lovely petals of violets; roses are wound in our hair;
Loudly echo the voices of songs to the flutes,
And choirs step in procession to dark-ribboned Semele.[69]”

Pindar

© silkannthreades

Magnolia Poetry

What wondrous life is this I lead?

What wondrous life is this I lead?

Today, Friday, 16th August, is our National Poetry Day. We are encouraged to write poems, read poems and spend our day enjoying and promoting poetry. Writing poetry is difficult for me. And I find poetry difficult to read and understand, as well.

Nevertheless, I am warming to poetry thanks to reading poetry blogs and a wonderful book which I read every day called  “Poem for the Day” ,edited by Nicholas Albery. Today’s poem is from “Thoughts in a Garden” by Andrew Marvell (1621-1678).  Here is the beginning of the excerpt:

What wondrous life in this I lead!
Ripe apples drop about my head;
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine;
Here, it is not the season for apples and grapes. Not harvest time, but the time for budding and blossoming, as Spring prepares for its official arrival next month.
A poet who wrote of the coming Spring is our own Christchurch poet, Ursula Bethell. Listen to this extract from her poem The Soothsayer, from From a Garden in the Antipodes (Sidgwick & Jackson, 1929)

I walked back down the pathway,
The evening light lay gently on the orchard;
Then I saw a redness on the peach boughs,
And bulb-spears pushing upwards,
And heard the old blackbird whistle
‘Get ready. Get ready. Get ready.
Quick. Quick. Spring.’

I cannot find words to equal either poet but, if I take a very broad interpretation of the origins of the word poem, that is something composed or created, I can pretend that these photos of my magnolia tree are a poem…. a sweetly scented, floral, poetical arrangement  from my garden to honour National Poetry Day.

For those of you who would like to know more about Ursula Bethell and her poetry follow these links

http://www.nzepc.auckland.ac.nz/authors/bethell/  and http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/Literature/People/B/Bethell_Mary_Ursula/. 

Her poetry is of my land, my knowing, and it speaks to me more easily than Marvell’s words do. Yet, like, me she was not born here, and other places pull on her heartstrings. Her garden gives her a sense of  belonging but does not dispel the longing for other times and places.

© silkannthreades

Is it all clear, SOFIA?

This post is a little off topic from my previous post, but only a little. It still concerns the collection of data and the keeping of records.   These records are on an astronomical scale. And they are gathered and analysed by beautiful, sophisticated SOFIA and friends.

We went to visit SOFIA today because the sun was shining, and it was a perfect day for visiting and gallivanting. Here she is. Isn’t she stunning?

Sofia

Sofia

SOFIA is stationed at Christchurch International Airport for a couple of weeks. She  is on a surveillance exercise. Of the skies. This is an excerpt from Nasa’s website on SOFIA.

‘NASA’s SOFIA airborne observatory will be based in New Zealand for the next two weeks, taking advantage of the Southern Hemisphere’s orientation to study celestial objects that are difficult or impossible to see in the northern sky.

SOFIA, formally known as the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, deployed to the United States Antarctic Program’s facilities at Christchurch International Airport last week and completed its first science flight at 4 a.m. local time July 18 (noon EDT July 17). A team of scientists, engineers, pilots and technicians from the United States and Germany are deployed with SOFIA to support as many as nine research flights through Aug. 1.

SOFIA is a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that carries a telescope with an effective diameter of 100 inches (250 centimeters). It provides astronomers access to the visible, infrared and submillimeter spectrum.’ You can access the full text Here

Now I can’t say I understand all that technical stuff , but I can say that I enjoyed admiring  SOFIA and imagining what it would be like to fly so high in the sky with a telescope.

If you want to have a small experience,  flying with SOFIA, check out the SOFIA movie gallery  Here.

Apparently, the people who know these things, say we have very clear skies in our part of the world. Which makes our skies an excellent research area for SOFIA. Our skies are so good  that we are home to one of the best dark sky reserves in the world.  It’s too far from Christchurch for me to take you there, today, so this link will have to do. (http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/7074544/Southern-skies-get-starlight-reserve-status)

I can, however, show you the luminous, light blue sky over us, and SOFIA, this afternoon.

Clear and Blue

Clear and Blue

It surprises me that the sky does look so fresh and pure because the air pollution levels  have exceeded  health guidelines levels  at least 11 times  in Christchurch this winter. Perhaps the blue of the  sky today is an optical illusion.

Writing of smog and lenses and illusion reminds me that some wits in the media have been questioning the timing of the SOFIA project in Christchurch. It coincides very neatly with the Government’s attempts to expand the  Government Communications Security Bureau ‘s  legal powers to spy on us, its own New Zealand citizens. At the moment the GCSB  may spy on  non New Zealanders.  The amendment under debate will legalise the GCSB’s spying on New Zealand citizens and permanent residents.

I am 99% sure SOFIA is an innocent star-gazer but that is a mighty big telescope scoping our southern skies.  However, as long as she  is gazing upwards and outwards, little ol’ me  and the rest of my fellow Kiwis,  can rest easy, at least as far as SOFIA is concerned 🙂

© silkannthreades

Late Bloomers

‘Leo the Late Bloomer’ is one of my favourite books. (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/225542.Leo_the_Late_Bloomer) Written by Robert Kraus, the story tells us, through the character of Leo the little tiger, that each of us will bloom in our own good time. ‘ Leo the Late Bloomer’ is  usually referred to as a children’s book but I think the theme of the story has universal appeal. So I, on my own authority, have decided to delete the ‘children’ from the book’s description. Sorry, kids, but you can’t keep all the good books to yourselves!

Occasionally, I think of the story’s theme in relation to myself but, today, my attention was caught by the late bloomers in my garden. Here they are, in collage format, because I wanted to emphasize the visual impact of the  blue hues of their lateness.  The actual flowers are scattered thinly in different parts of the garden.Bluetiful

In two of the photos the blueness has not yet emerged; later than late bloomers, those ones. Some of the blooms may, more accurately, be described as stragglers, or long-lasting bloomers, but the plumbago is my true late bloomer having only emerged for the first time this week. But each flower is beautiful and, at this time of the year, very precious. The borage is especially precious to the remaining bees.  In fact, the bees are probably the reason that most of the late bloomers in my garden are blue toned. The colours that we perceive as purple, violet and blue are the colours the bees see best.

Thank you bees, thank you beautiful late bloomers and, as an afterthought, because the word ‘bloomers’ can never quite be said without a giggle in my brain,

No Thank You to those horrible blue garments we once had to  wear to physical education classes. They were bloomers too and were certainly not beautiful, nor intended to be. They discouraged any notion of birds and bees.

© silkannthreades