I asked the Tulip, "You are so beautiful but your heart is black. Why is this so? Has some friend done you an injury?"
The Tulip replied, "I have no gold such as is the source of happiness."
Granny Artemis was handed a tulip bulb in a small sandwich baggy at a peace event in Seattle in 2002. The baggy was packed with compost made from flowers that had been part of the Seattle Center Flower Vigil after the September 11 attacks in 2001. In the bag of compost was one Appledoorn Tulip grown in the Skagit Valley. Mayor Greg Nickels had a printed note attached to the bag that said "Plant this bulb in memory of those we lost & as a living symbol of our values of freedom & unity."
As the tulip is red with faint orange streaking, I suppose this is a cooptation of "Red Poppy Symbolism," but in this case used not in sincere memorial, but primarily as an advertisement for a tulip grower. The flyer that came with this freeby had lots of room left over for a quick sentence on how deep to plant the bulb in what kind of soil, but that'd spoil the purpose; instead, to find planting instructions, it tells you to go the sponsor's commercial website & get bombarded with commercialism.
It reminded me how Ford Trucks rushed their advertising to the television airwaves soon after the towers fell, insinuating it was patriotic to go out right then & there & buy a big gashog of a truck. The ad got pulled fast, but how is it even possible they failed to predict the instantaneous backlash, which was just so inevitable.
Everyone for commerce & for political gain was at that time tying their product or their campaign to the Flag, Apple Pie, & Falling Towers, which works ever so much better than the risky business of stepping forth in support a civil rights, or peace in our time, or anything with more substance than jingoism going for it.
"Contribute to my campaign & stop terror!" "Buy my tulips & stop terror!" While at the same time, any ordinary tramp who asks "Buddy can you spare a dime" is at risk of being arrested, & the federal government sent out instructions to local police to consider anyone who owns an Almanac a potential terrorist.
So instead of "Buy this magazine or we shoot the dog" it's "Buy this (political claptrap) (Ford) (tulip) or the Terrorists win."
Screwy damned world that cannot separate out its grief from its profit margins, which welcomes a boogyman for the sales angle it provides, while expressing zero interest in actual civil rights of all people. But hey, it's a capitalist society after all, & no catastrophe passes without someone making a commercial out of it.
I don't actually want my gardens to become a place to contemplate terrorism, so I couldn't applaud having violence & doom imposed on a flower, nor can I find praise for the politicalization of simple hucksterism posing as memorial. If I did want a flower to remind me of terrorism, it wouldn't be a particolored red & orange striped baffoon of a carnival tulip. I actually liked the idea of the composted vigil flowers more than the bulb itself.
But what the hell, free is free, & I planted it anyway, though not anywhere where it would spoil an overall woodland effect with its gaudiness. Just out on the road in front of an exiled Ceanothis.
I would never have bought this tulip. Darwin hybrids are among the biggest tulips (for flower size), but I'm enamored of little botanicals. Still, I couldn't just throw it away, that'd be unamerican & ex-liberal neo-conservative clownster Dennis Miller wouldn't like me anymore.
For its first year, the lonely bulb sent up a little patch of thick green leaves in late Autumn rather than waiting for Spring. Then it lurked there all winter long waiting for spring, & in April bloomed quite nicely.
The first two photos show it in 2003, a single tall flower bright red with silvery sheen, & black in the center. Many hybrid tulips weaken year by year, but Darwins can perennialize with ease. The third photo shows it again in April 2004 (with plenty more deaths to commemorate in the meantime), three flowered stalks arose where the previous year was only one.
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