Wednesday, December 5, 2018

An enchanting naiad of the boreal boglands

Arethousa bulbosa on Hawks Hill, Newfoundland

 I hope you like orchids*--you'll see a lot of pictures of one of them....and for the heck of it, why not click on this link: Have the voice of Areti Ketime** accompany the pictures as you scroll down, and in the end I'll tell you why!


I took all these pictures on an enchanted hike with a hundred or so rock gardeners at the Annual General Meeting of the North American Rock Garden Society last July 8.


I've obviously picked a lot of these pictures here because of their dramatically different coloration...







I know this one is out of focus, but in the background you can see Todd Boland--the master mind of the conference and one of North America's most accomplished horticulturists!


Arethousa  has an enormous range across much of the northeastern United States and Canada. It grows in and on the margins of bogs and wetlands.


I have admired this orchid for decades in books and have yearned to see it in nature. There are a suite of these exquisite bog orchids in the east, including Calopogon, and Pogonia, which often grow near Arethousa. We saw a number of Calopogon which generally bloom a little later, but were there at the wrong time to see Pogonia.


I don't know about you, but I can't get enough of these Newfy Naiads!



I hope I've thoroughly mesmerized you with all these prismatic waifs and can persuade you to join the North American Rock Garden Society (click here to go to the website): it's an awesome organization and you too can go on field trips like this! Not to mention the amazing journal, seedlist etc. etc. etc.








*I apologize for repeating a few of the photos on this blog post: you can put it in context if you click on "Maybe it IS about the Orchids" where I show other denizens of this bog.

**Areti Ketime is a Modern Greek Folk Singer Singer born in 1989 with a voice reminds me of Greek version of Alison Krauss. She plays the Santoori--the Greek name for the Indian Hammer Dulcimer. Her name: Αρετή is very familiar to Classics scholars: it is the Ancient Greek word for excellence--and a very important philosophical concept. But to the Greek ear it also sounds like Arethousa (Αρέθουσα), the naiad pursued by Alphaeus who was transformed into a spring on an island near Sicily. Her name more closely approximates that of the heroine Aretousa (Αρετούσα) of the greatest Renaissance Greek poem (Erotocritos) written in the Cretan dialect at the time of Shakespeare. The author (Vizentsios Kornaros) has the same surname as my Mother's maiden name--I've always fantasized hew might be my ancestor...there! That explains everything clearly, doesn't it?

If you listen to (and watch) Arete on Youtube, you may feel as I do that her voice could be that of the delicate boreal orchid. Her angelic face also reminds me synaesthetically of the boreal naiads of Newfoundland. A stretch I know--but so is this magic thing we call life! There are dozens of her performances on Youtube--one more amazing than the next running the gamut from ancient folk songs to very snazzy jazz.

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