Friends, Fans, & Followers:
I think there’s something romantic about the notion of finding something that the locals find mundane in their part of the world, only to watch that very same object elicit squeals of delight when on home turf. Whenever I travel, I fancy myself to be an explorer in the vein of all the greats – Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Marco Polo – and I imagine that my travels have been underwritten by the Crown of some European country and that I’ve been sent off to distant lands with an entourage of porters to bring back some odd trinket or charm for the King or Queen back home to show off to his or her fellow courtiers. Admittedly, I may well have a bit of an over-active imagination… but all the same, I’ve just come back from a world-over trip and have brought back some wonderfully unique items for those of you that subscribe to my Exotic Collection: gloriosa, scabiosa, veronica, Azorean hydrangea, and Thai curcuma.
The first item from my travel chest is hot pink gloriosa. In the wild, gloriosa ranges in color from green-yellow, to yellow proper, to orange and red, but the hot pink batch that I was able to secure is exceedingly rare. This particular parcel was grown by a close friend of mine by the name of Alfonso Lim. Alfonso, of mixed Chinese and Portuguese descent, grows gloriosa just outside of Malacca Town on the southwestern coast of the Malaysian peninsula and I think you’ll find these flowers to be just as flamboyant as Alfonso himself.
Next, I’ve included light blue scabiosa from the foothills of the Julian Alps (part of the mountain range that stretches between northeastern Italy all the way to Slovenia). I hope you won’t find yourself switched off by its name (although, to be fair, it does have a disastrous one, titled as it is after the contagious skin disease known as scabies) especially since it has such wonderfully delicate petals. In fact, let’s just call it by its much more sweet-sounding nickname: pincushion flower. Usually a darker lavender color (or creamy white), this nectar-rich batch is a cross between the more common varieties and in the late 1700s was the subject of quite a bit of botanical controversy. Apparently, two Austrian chaps got into a tussle of he-said and she-said over who was the first to discover the flower. Whether you give credit to Belsazar Hacquet or to Anton Kerne von Marilaun, I think you’ll find them gorgeous.
To follow, I’ve added in pink veronica, the long thin blooms in your bundle. These came from my man in Ecuador (so I can’t really take credit for having “brought them back” but I hope you’ll give me credit nonetheless). If you’re into symbolism, pink veronica (so named to honor St. Veronica who, as you may know if you were made to suffer through Sunday School as I was, gave Jesus her vail to mop his brow as carried his cross to Golgotha) stands for fidelity but I included them simply because I think their spire-shape adds a touch of elegance to the bundle.
Into the mix I added antique Dutch hydrangea. Despite their name, these flowers didn’t come from Holland. Rather, I brought them back from Flores Island (part of the Azores, off the coast of Portugal). Flores, which you must visit if you have the chance, is absolutely stunning and is home to both numerous cultivators and to a seemingly endless supply of wild fields of hydrangea. This particular bunch of stems I collected while on tour with an old mate of mine, Joao Fonseca, to see the lighthouse at Ponta do Albernaz.
Finally, to wrap up my world tour, I picked for you a vibrant fistful of wild pink curcuma. Part of the same species from whence turmeric and ginger comes (indeed, curcuma is named for the Arabic word for turmeric – “kurkum”), this curcuma grows wild in northern Thailand. No kidding – in and about Pa Hin Ngam National Park in the Chaiyaphym province of Thailand, you can find carpets and carpets of wild pink curcuma which is why, in some quarters, you’ll hear some refer to this flower as Siam Tulip (and while they are a bit tulip-y, they’re not tulips at all).
So there you have it – treasures from far-away lands, indeed! If you’ve been Blooming for a while, then you’re an expert by now. If you’re new, then up-end your bundle over a sink to drain the cellophane reservoir, unwrap your bundle, and set your flowers into the included vase. Give them a good drink of room temperature water and then enjoy!
From Around The World,