June 24, 2009


A month ago I was amazed by the slender stalks of purple which had begun to bloom in my garden. I loved the way they waved in the wind moving en masse with each air movement. I began to see other plantings all over town and they like mine danced 18 to 24 inches above the ground. I thought about them in terms of small banners of spring. I wondered if I loved purple and looked up information about purple/violette. But then I remembered the purple irises which had just flowered and I am sorry to say although I admired them I adored the bronze or root beer colored iris more.
I sat on my front porch and thought, I looked up salvia and sage in garden books, also nepeta x fasseni which was its companion all round my yard. Then I remembered the tall waving wheat which I loved to run through as a child in Kansas and how ever since I have loved tall slender plants. When I visited Japan years ago I was struck by the beauty of the bamboo forests. They were quiet and still and you could hear the air move through. I was preprogramed to fall in love with their form and slender movement.

I also remembered that when I taught I came up with the thought that the Crayola company had popularized the word "purple" in the 40's when they named a color in their crayon box. (This thought may have been provided by thc Crayola company or my Romanticism.) This because, in Europe, the color is known as violet. But the word "purple" was derived from the snail which was used to create the color in ancient times. Another change in an old memory. Today wheat is no longer taller than a 6 year old. It has been engineered to be a foot high or so to make it easier to harvest. I saw this on a recent trip through Kansas.

Do you find you are as drawn to a shape as a gosling follows its mother? If so what are the shapes which please you and why? Following is a stunning red-violet from my garden also a painting by the Kansas/Swedish artist Berger Sandzen who knew how to use purple, violet, morado, red-violet and magenta.


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