Sunday, September 26, 2010

Shampoo and Set

I feel bad that I don't like some plants. It's not their fault, after all. It's just an irrational dislike of some things over others. I suppose it's human nature. Some things press my button and will bring a grin to my face and an acquisitive itch to my palms. Others just make me cringe.

This time last year I introduced my dislike of hydrangeas. This year, I introduce a plant (or rather a flower) which causes me to press my fingernails into my palms. Or rather, just one small section of a group of plants.... exhibition chrysanthemums.

I'm not even sure it's the plants that annoy me so. It's the thought of someone spending hours primping the petals into carefully coiffed constructions. Perhaps it's the old lady analogy again - but instead of pants, this time it's a shampoo, colour and set.


But I won't have a bad thing said about dahlias. I adore them. All of them.



Helen/patientgardener said...

I see you went to Malvern autumn show yesterday! VP and my's reaction to the show tent was WHY including the show chrysthans!!

Esther Montgomery said...

I'm the opposite - SOME chrysanthemums bring cheer to my autumn heart. FEW dahlias do more than make me cringe or laugh at the poor souls who grow them. (You excepted . . . of course! I turn aside in confusion. I know you have a family-dahlia history.)

But, where I like them, in both cases, it's the single ones I warm to most. Single chrysanthemums can be like mini-sunflowers. And I even LIKE the dahlia bottom left in your photo. (Wouldn't even recognise it as a dahlia if you hadn't said so!)

When I was a child, my mother used to 'do' the church flowers and chrysanthemums left a particular smell in the vases and that smell still reminds me of dusty vestries and silence on Saturday mornings. It was something we did together so I have good chrysanthemum memories of the large ones too. (Though not if they are crimped and permed!)

Incidentally, I sometimes think I'll plant a hydrangea for a laugh. Trouble is, I doubt if anyone would get the joke.


P.P.S. Silliness comes over me at flower shows / exhibitions. I have to be kept away from them to save embarrassment. I did come across a tent with chickens in once (not exactly flowers, but there they were) and some of the chickens seemed to be wearing voluminous, white, fluffy, feathery bloomers. I liked them. They made my day.


Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

I must confess to growing a chrysanthemum this year - C. Froggy, because I wanted some green flowers.

When I say "grow" I stuck it in the cutting garden and forgot about it. No primping here, needless to say it has done rubbish.

I am with you on the dahlias

PS Beautiful Dahlia photo

VP said...

You went to Malvern and we didn't know! :(

Thought it much improved on 2 years ago - you?

HappyMouffetard said...

@VP & Patient Gardener - hope you had a good day. We (my father and I) just went for the morning. I always enjoy it, as long as I don't really think of it as a garden show and think of it more as a giant village show. I love the show tent - I think it's wonderful that people devote their lives to trying to grow the biggest, ugliest or best of something.

Esther - thank you for your wonderful comment. Memories are what make us who we are - either chrysanthemum or dahlia lovers! Show poultry are indeed wonderful, ridiculous creatures.

Karen - Ah, but this is where I get quixotic. I like single chrysanths, and the general garden chrysanths (although I don't have any) so would be happy to have Froggy gracing a corner for cutting. It is really the incurve chrysanths (just had to look up what they were called) for which I reserve my unfettered scorn.

Victoria Summerley said...

Actually, I quite like the big shaggy chrysanths, though I hate all the primping business. It's like when they wrap irises up in cotton wool at Chelsea - it's as if you're seeing a plant in her curlers.
There's a bit at the beginning of Mrs Miniver, which is one of my (many) favourite books, where Mrs Miniver buys some chrysanthemums, "the big mop-headed kind, burgundy-coloured, with curled petals". She describes their scent as being " a pure distillation of her mood, a quintessence of all that she found gay and intoxicating and astringent about ... the season of the year."
I feel like that about them too. Not sure about burgundy, though - I think I prefer the burnt orange ones or those pale shell pink ones.

Arabella Sock said...

Ooh you've changed your blog picture - I wondered where I was!!

I don't like chrysanths but never say never. I thought I didn't like dahlias until I saw some of Sarah Ravens.

Plantaliscious said...

Thank you for giving making me grin on a dull grey day! I'm with you on show chrysanths. I am trying to overcome my prejudice against a number of plants, having discoverd that I do, in fact, like a great many dahlias thanks to Sarah Raven's plant porn.

I am trying to like gladioli, but struggling due to a nasty red one that should have been purple I think I could like shaggy chrysanths but that will have to wait until next year to test, and potentially runs foul of the Garage Forecourt Phenomena - flowers tainted by turning up in those sad bunches for desperate people who never quite got round to buying anything until the last minute. I also hate carnations for the same reason.

I hate mophead hydrangeas, but love lacecaps, and the oakleaved hydrangea is one of my favourite plants.

Unknown said...

Trailing in fashionably late, as usual. Love this post. I'm not crazy about dahlias, or glads (sorry, Esther) or petunias, or a few other plants in my OWN garden--but am quite happy with them elsewhere. Mostly it's a case of pragmatics--glads and dahlias don't like my cool, foggy, windy climate, petunias are messy and icky here, but if they bring joy to others, I'm good with that.

I do like fall chrysanthemums, in certain colours--the bronzes, burgundies, coppers, pinky-oranges, etc. Not the glaring yellow. I think what I like about mums is their tidy habit, a sort of composed presentation at a time when the rest of the garden looks rather like a "birch broom with the fits" as we Newfoundlanders describe a ratsnest of hair--wind has swept things all asunder, broken stems, torn away leaves from shrubs and trees, but the mums sit peacefully in their tidy mounds, explosions of colour oblivious to the wild weather. They have a steadying effect on me in days like this, with galeforce winds pounding everything.

And hydrangeas--they do very well here, so I do love them. The paniculata grandifloras, the lacecaps, the climbing, the Annabelle type--they thrive on my cool, moist soil and bloom like gangbusters. But I totally understand when someone else doesn't like a plant. That's the joy of there being so many choices, isn't it?