Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Flower District

Spring has come to the sidewalks of West 28th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. I had to keep a grip. It's too early! But the sweet little violas...I was very tempted by the deep blues.

A neon riot of primroses, not looking very like what you might find in an English hedgerow.

Instant gratification. But with overnight temperatures dipping below freezing, what folly. Not to mention still-frozen planters on rooftops, and soil on the Mainland.

I was about to pick up some narcissus for the terrace, just a potful...when I saw stephanotis. Then reason fled. Of course it will have to stay inside, though summer outside will be fine, but no flowers then.

I visited Culpeper's in London when I was thirteen, and fell in love with their Stephanotis eau de toilette. I hope I just dabbed it on, because it is a heady scent. It would probably make me sick now. Whenever someone went to London, eau de toilette had to come back with them. And for a long time my mom had the vine twining about an old wrought iron railing. Those are my excuses, anyway. I bought two pots, for work, from the affable Benjamin and Jeffrey at Foliage Garden.

Outside another flower shop, selling just-cut blooms, was a trove of South Africans...proteas, pincushions.

If you want to be cheered up it's best to visit this New York block of flowers in the morning, because that's when all the flower shops are still doing business. They open in the wee hours. I hope they continue to do so for a long time. Somehow I feel it's an iconic part of the city that is poised on the edge.


  1. I almost succumbed to those wickedly vibrant primroses about two weeks ago, but that was w-a-y too early.

    I'm a complete fool for lily of the valley. There was an lotv-scented cologne called Muguet de Bois (which I still can't pronounce properly) that I now know I drenched myself with. It was a long time before I realized how people knew I had been in a room.

  2. I love lily of the valley too. I found clump once in an acquaintance's garden, quite neglected. They cared nothing for the flowers and let me pick as many as I liked. It made me quite giddy.

    I had a lot planted last year in a new Brooklyn garden, and I can't wait to see what happens later in the year.

  3. Well, once again, you guys beat us to spring. How strange. And how beautiful...

  4. I call them polyanthus, not primroses, but maybe Americans have a different name.
    I lust after tulips and once in while succumb to their outrageous price.I daresay cold-climate folk are the same about frangipani and ginger!


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