Heaven Scent

We had friends over for dinner on Saturday. Maria has at least one, maybe two certificates in floral design. The most prestigious is from the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Every time she comes over she brings flowers – at Christmas it was an arrangement of holly, juniper, fir, roses, and some stuff that I couldn’t identify. Each time she brings flowers I dutifully return the vases but was informed on Saturday that she has a basement full (purchased at Ikea, which means they cost less.)

She gave me my one lesson in flower arranging. We shopped wholesale and bought a ridiculous amount of blooms and greenery for not much money. I had a great time but realized shortly afterward that if I planned to wash my hands eight or ten times on my one day a week at the hospital I couldn’t add another day or two of putting my hands in wet and cold for flowers no matter how gorgeous they are.

So I’ve been enjoying Maria’s flower arranging vicariously. On Saturday she brought spring with mini daffodils and iris that will go    into the garden after they’ve finished blooming. She gave them the optimum survival conditions with lots of moss and well-watered growing medium. Four days later, even in humidity 25 percent the entire array is still beyond moist, venturing into the realm of soggy.

The best part of the bouquet is the hyacinth. The picture can explain the living artwork/sculpture better than I can. I love the twisted verticals tied with a bow. She brought it in on a cold night, but when the heat came on the perfume of the hyacinth filled the room, then the downstairs. Now it wafts all over, and we really do have spring everywhere.

Hyacinths have had all positive associations for me. I’ve never understood the negativity they engender in Strindberg’s The Ghost Sonata. I once worked on a production of the play in which someone suggested spraying hyacinth scent around the theater before each performance. The director acted as though he’d been shot. I suspect now that he didn’t want that perfume still in the theater as the characters reveal their pain-filled and gruesome pasts and admit to murder, incest and so forth.

Strindberg aside, we’re having the best kind of spring awakening.


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