A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

The Blue Tit & The Boxing Kangaroo
Friday, August 01, 2008


While watching a baseball game in Mexico quite a few years ago (I may have been 15) there was a fly ball out and I heard the announcer call it a braguetazo. I thought about the word and smiled. A bragueta in Spanish is a man's fly. When some Mexican with either a sense of humour or a shaky command of English translated the term fly ball he did not opt to use the Spanish verb to fly which is volar. A braguetazo would loosely translate as a powerful swat with a man's fly! I will just add here that a left fielder in Mexican baseball parlance, jardinero izquierdo, translates as left gardener.

When learning English at an American School in Buenos Aires I was puzzled by many American terms including those from sports that were alien to me. One of my teachers kept using the term "life is a three ring circus". I had no concept of this. Circuses in Argentina were plentiful and all had only one ring in the middle. Why would anybody want to be distracted with more action? Particularly as my favourite circus came with a real boxing kangaroo.

Since I have no editor here the above will serve as a long-winded introduction for my love of hydrangeas at this time of the year. The remontant roses are having a well deserved rest. The once bloomers are growing long canes in preparation of new wood that will be next spring's old wood and source of my favourite gallica and alba blooms. My roses, even though they are spread about in the garden, somehow seem to be a one-ring circus. When they are around their beauty and their scent prevent me from noticing anything else. With them gone I look around as if I were in a three ringer and I notice all those dark corners and the wonderful deep blue hydrangeas with their clean, crisp and mostly serrated leaves. They are disease free and they don't have to be deadheaded. I must simply make sure they get adequate watering as they are the shrubs in the garden to suffer a drought.

Today, tired from my last 6-hour class (editorial photography) at Van Arts I walked around the garden with Lauren and I enjoyed the calming coolness of the blue hydranges. The bluest of them all is Hydrangea macrophylla 'Blaumaise'. It is a hydrangea developed in the 60s in W├Ądenswil, Switzerland and it is one of several called Teller series. It seems that teller is German for plate and the Germans and the Swiss do not call lacecaps, lacecaps. but plates! The Teller series are all named after German or Swiss birds so my very blue hydrangea is Blue Tit in English.

As I walk around, my head turns and I imagine I am in that three-ring circus I never saw but somehow the vision fades and I remember why Argentines call bad music, circus band music and that cute kangaroo that was the undefeated champion in my circus book of favourites.



     

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