Saturday, March 17, 2012

Oleander - and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

10" x 13"
Arches 140#CP

9" x 12"
Arches 140#CP

We are having our June weather in March - and it feels as though Winter has had a date or two with Spring, decided that the short fling was over, and is now engaged to Summer for the serious relationship.

Our temps all week have been in the 70s and mid 80sF --- June weather - and the trees and blossoms are responding with a frenzy. Bradford pears, redbuds, elms, tea olives are all abloom and filling the air with scent --- and pollen. If folks aren’t coughing and blowing their noses from colds in this changeable weather, they’re sniffling and congested with allergies. You can SEE all the tiny flecks of plant life on your windowsills, cars and if you stand still long enough – on your clothing –(well, maybe the clothing is a bit of an exaggeration). But the rapid rush to reproduce in this unseasonable warmth has brought out the ‘plant passion’ in waves upon waves of pollen-laden air as well as a swiftly swirling display of flowers.

I don’t have oleanders in my own garden but for all the years I lived in Charleston, SC, I watched them flower along the roadsides making journeys to the beach even more beautiful with their pink and white blossoms. I remember one year taking the flowers apart to replicate their delicate structures in silk. I was participating in a silk flower making class and my home was filled with vases of these delicately-made plants. Our instructor had patterns for a variety of flowers – but I had to create my own from the oleander.

The oleander has also been called “Sea Rose” or “South Sea Rose” and it is said to be once though as an ‘olive bearing bush’ since the Latin word for olive is ‘olea.’ It is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean and a Greek legend tells us that a young maiden was once romanced by a young man called Leander who later drowned in a wild tempest. When his body was found on the beach, he was clutching this flower. Looking for her lover, the young lady called over and over ‘Oh, Leander, oh, Leander” and when she found his body, she kept the flower as a symbol of their love. The flower grew and became the oleander we know today.

We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day today and instead of mere green and in celebration of our early spring as well as St. Patrick, I’ve decided to add a bit of pink to the day – and celebrate with oleanders!

Ta la maith! In other words - Have a great day!

5 comments:

Lorraine said...

Ah what a sweet story, an interesting history, and of course: a gorgeous painting. I love reading your prose along with viewing your lovely creations. And I can just see you -- having to take the petals apart to make your own perfect pattern LOL!!

So much bloomed out here too and our May allergies are here -- right from a cold into allergies -- DH and I make quite a chorus trying to clear our throats!

The sun is peeking out and it's supposed to be another weekend in the high 70's. Whew, does this mean a cool summer or an extra hot and humid one???
Big hugs,
Lorraine

maria said...

eine wunderschöne und interessante geschichte.
dein gemälde ist wunder- wunderschön, der bildaufbau und die herrlichen farben machen es so sehenswert.
bei uns gibt es noch überall schneeflecken und auf den bergen ist schilauf kein problem.
seit einigen tagen ist es etwas wärmer und schön langsam fängt die wiese an grün zu werden und die ersten frühlingsblumen kommen zum vorschein...........
wir freuen uns sehr darüber..........
ganz liebe grüße maria

Joan T said...

I just love the turns and curves and bends of the petals. Beautiful!!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Teri Casper said...

It is just gorgeous Liin!!!

Melliott said...

Poor Leander may have died not from drowning but from tasting a flower! Wildly poisonous. I have never understood the preponderance of this shrub planted around schoolyards where unwary children could be endangered. But it is beautiful! You've done a nice job of painting it.