Friday, February 3, 2012

A Much Appreciated Versatility Award

I am truly pleased and honoured to have received "The Versatile Blogger" award  from T.S. at Casa Mariposa.  It could not have come at a better time with the February blahs at my heels.

It seems that there is a ritual involved with this award which is to bestow it on fifteen other bloggers whose blogs I enjoy. Also I am to tell you 7 things about myself. 

So let's start with me:

1.  I never realized I liked 'history' so much until I began this blog.

2. I read quite a lot, and not just biographies on ladies of our past. I am a huge A.S. Byatt fan, love the Lord of the Rings and some science fiction.

3. I have a certificate in horticulture and do my best to use it well in my garden of just under one acre.

4. I have mostly had cats as pets, some goldfish and turtles when a kid.

5. My husband and I used to enjoy camping but now a comfy hotel room has its lure.

6. I am a real art and craft admirer and have a knack for knowing which piece is of the highest quality.

7. Macaroni and cheese is still one of my favorite things to eat.

   I happily bestow the Versatile Blogger  award to the following wonderful bloggers:

Jennifer @ Three dogs in a Garden for her wonderful cottage garden. She manages what I aspire to.    

Bom @PlantChaser who shares an interest in history and his magnificent plant macros

Carolyn @ Shade Gardens for her native plant suggestions and inspiration

Charley @  365 Things I love about France for helping me live in France from afar.

ts @casamariposa for her fun and humorous posts - Thanks again!

Denise in Japan for her wonderful bird photos

Donna @gardenwalkgardentalk whose 'magazines' are truly amazing

Diana @elephantseyegarden for showing me parts of South Africa I may never see

Julie @ TrulyUseful for her myriad of ways of helping one understand social media and for being a great librarian

Helen @ Masteringhorticulture who knows way more than I do and has a knack for making the science of plants easily understandable

Rob @ ourfrenchgarden who has a beautiful spot in the French countryside and who is presently tackling building stone walls

Helen @patientgardener in Malvern Hills whose trials and tribulations I can sympathize with as my own

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pomona, a goddess

Pomona by Nicholas Fouche C.1700

Pomona is a Roman goddess of fruiting trees and orchards. She did not care for forests, she loved her cultivated countryside. She wields a pruning knife in her right hand for she is an expert in pruning and grafting. Despite the fact that she preferred to be alone to care and nurture her trees, this amazon-like beauty was besieged by suitors, in particular a god called Vertumnus. Vertumnus had the ability to take different human guises and made numerous attempts to woo Pomona but she turned him away each time. It wasn't until Vertumnus appeared before her in his proper person (apparently quite a good looking fellow) that Pomona gave in to his charms. Vertumnus is a god of gardens and orchards and so it appears they were a match made in heaven.

The name Pomona comes from the Latin word pomum, "fruit," specifically orchard fruit. ("Pomme" is the French word for apple.) She was said to be a wood nymph and a part of the Numia, guardian spirits who watch over people, places, or homes. While Pomona watches over and protects fruit trees and cares for their cultivation she is not actually associated with the harvest of fruit itself, but with the flourishing of the fruit trees. This is why the pruning knife was her sacred tool. In artistic depictions she is generally shown with a platter of fruit or a cornucopia.

 William Morris, (whose tapestry of Pomona is shown above) left us this lovely poem:

I am the Ancient Apple Queen,
As once I was so am I now.
For ever more a hope unseen,
Betwix the blossom and the bow.

Ah, where’s the river’s hidden Gold!
And where’s the windy grave of Troy!
Yet come I as I came of old,
From out the heart of summer’s joy.

Pomona and Vertumnus in the guise of an old woman, by Francesco Melzi 1570-20

If you are interested in reading a lovely interpretation of the Pomona myth check out Thalia's site. Her story is quite charming and fun to read.