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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Wrong Plant, Snowstorm and Waltz

Have you ever bought a wrong plant? Yes, a wrong plant. I mean the plant itself was not wrong, it was a fine plant, but it was not what you intended to acquire? Well, maybe you haven't. I have. We were at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show when I saw a stand with bulbs and told myself that I was not going to do any spontaneous purchases. I looked at the open boxes. Each box had, as you could guess, bulbs and a colorful picture of its blooms. At one moment, I stopped, sharply changed directions and went straight to one box, grabbed several bulbs, paid for them and continued walking. I bought a beautiful allium.
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I thought so. It was supposed to be tall with a huge textured bloom ! To make a long story short, when the blooming happened, I saw something not even slightly resembling my dream allium. It was this:
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Blue scilla peruviana (Cuban Lily). Blooms in May.
50-75 degrees F (10-24 C), high humidity, full sun.
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I made a mistake. I grabbed the wrong bulbs.
'It's not a big deal to buy a wrong plant' I said to myself. It's not like you got the wrong wife, let's say, or the wrong husband. It's not what happened with two young people from Alexander Pushkin's novel 'Snowstorm'. Did you read it? You didn't, I knew it. It's OK. Oh, someone said 'Yes'. There are several teachers among our fellow garden bloggers, who probably read it. But, if you didn't read it, don't feel bad. Here it is, very briefly.
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Picture yourself: Russian countryside in the 19th century. Winter. Snowstorm. Night. Little village's church. It's dark, just several candles light the place. The 17 year girl waiting for her passion, an officer. Young people decided to get married secretly, knowing that the girl's parents wouldn't approve of their union.
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V.Milashevski 1971
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Priest, witnesses and the bride are waiting. And waiting... And waiting... The snowstorm is not getting calmer. The bride is about to faint. Suddenly, the door opens and a young officer appears. He is led to the altar, the priest says the appropriate words, and when he tells them to kiss each other, the bride turns her face, sees a stranger and this time, she actually faints.
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V.Surikov
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The officer turns away and leaves the church.
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D. Shmarinov 1946
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He was not a bad guy. He got lost in the storm, was exhausted and probably thought that he was dreaming. And, what would you do if you were lost, tired, and suddenly people put you aside a beautiful girl?
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Snowstorm. A.Venetsian 1947
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... Four years passed. The young woman never got married, while carrying an awful secret. The young man, who married her unintentionally, returns from the war against Napoleon after being promoted to general. He is handsome, but unhappy. Neither one of them can marry, since they are married already, although they don't know to whom. You don't believe? Are you saying it couldn't happen? Are you saying they should marry since nobody in the world knows about an accidental marriage in a church? Wait, remember what time it was - 19th century. People held their words. People had such a thing as honor. Do you know that it was customary for Russian officers to shoot themselves if they couldn't pay their card debt (not credit card, but playing cards)? To kill yourself was more honorable than to have a gambling debt. Now, you understand. No? Well, at least, you get the idea - people were different. OK, let's continue. Just a bit of this story is left, and we'll return to our bulbs. So, the young heroine and the general met (at last) and fell in love, without knowing that they got married four years ago. They get together to reveal their awful secrets and tell that they never can marry each other, since they already have spouses, although unknown to them. He tells his story first.
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"I am married..." B.Kosulnikov
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'It was you?' - exclaims the beautiful Maria. 'And you don't recognize me?' They look at each other, he falls on his knees in front of her...
Happy ending.
Do you follow my logic? To buy a wrong plant is not as bad as marrying the wrong person. This is what I told myself looking at the absolute stranger, which had nothing in common with my dream allium. It was not tall, it didn't have a huge globe-shaped bloom but nevertheless, it was as blue as I wanted. Sorry for this story which is seemingly unrelated to gardening. I wrote in my earlier posts that very often plants or garden events remind me about stories, my own stories or famous writers' stories. By the way, there is beautiful music, waltz 'Snowstorm' by famous Russian composer Georgy Sviridov written for the movie 'Snowstorm'. I don't usually place music on my blog. But, since winter is coming, as many garden bloggers have written already, and it's time to buy bulbs, why don't we pamper ourselves? I promise, you won't regret it! Make it loud. Prepare kleenex as you might cry. Think about two young people, the tragic, cold and windy stormy night of long ago, and about your garden saying Good-bye to summer.
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What is the moral of this post? If you get the wrong plant, don't be upset. At least, you got the right husband (wife). ...hopefully...
P.S. I hear someone asking what happened with the real groom and why didn't he make it to the church? He also got lost in the storm.
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Snowstorm. N.Piskarev 1937
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When, at dawn, he at last found the church, nobody was there. He was ashamed, depressed and believed that he would never be forgiven. So, he went off to war and got killed.
Sad. Now you are crying... Don't cry. Go get some bulbs, but just make sure that you get the right ones.
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Illustrations for the novel were taken from gallerynicole.ya.ru

Copyright 210 TatyanaS

40 comments:

  1. Oh my, what a post. ;-) Your Cuban lily is still beautiful, and I'm sure makes a lovely addition to your gardens.

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

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  2. Dear Tatyana, Buying the wrong plant mistakenly, and usually through no fault of one's own [most often an incorrect label], is, I fear, a fairly common happening. Less so to marry in error the wrong person and, possibly, more serious. I have not read, and must, 'Snowstorm', for I love the way you have told the tale and captured the high moral standing of a C19 Russian officer and the total acceptance of fate on the part of the young girl. Such pathos!

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  3. Tatyana,

    The Cuban Lily is still very cool! I'm sure you did plant it in a location for a taller plant though. Once its done I'd dig it up and find a better place, it is still a keeper!

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  4. I do it all the time:) And like the previous posts above....they sometimes label our green friends incorrectly.:)

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  5. Tatyana , you are a gem ! Would that my chronic failures with Alliums be due to the wrong bulb purchased ..I will not be defeated !

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  6. Tatyana what a wonderful post - I couldn't stop reading with such intense curiosity about what was going to happen in the end. And the music was absolutely fantastic! Of course I'm a waltz lover from way back anyway. I use to turn on my Strauss waltes (loud like you said to really appreciate every sound) and my daughter and I would dance around the house holding hands (our waltz), then later with my Grandson). Ironically when Bob and I were dating all of the older women would come and ask him to dance because they love to waltz with him. I got a nice rest while they were dancing with him but then I learned to waltz and it's 'our' dance now!
    OK I got off the track just like you did but your post just got me so worked up! ;-)
    The flower you got looks like a keeper but I do know what you mean by being disappointed when you end up with the wrong one as I've done it before.

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  7. As if I didn't already say enough I forgot to tell you that I hate Windows 7 too and keep saying the same thing as you that I wish I wouldn't have gotten a new computer. I'm getting more use to it now so it's getting a little better but I still hate the email program they put in it instead of Outlook Express.

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  8. Thanks for a great post, Tatyanna! You retold the story very well, I wanted to know how it ended. I'm so glad you like the lily that you thought was an allium. I have made similar mistakes, most recently this year with a tree. I don't think I'll plant it though. Loved the music, it worked just fine for me.

    I am planning to buy bulbs soon for my garden, so I will be careful and make sure I get the right ones.

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  9. What a great post:- Great story, beautiful classical music n lovely blue flower, although the wrong one!

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  10. Tatyana, loved the story and the music! I did order bulbs, but I forgot to order the Allium! This was a wonderful reminder to go back on line and order a few of these beauties

    Eileen

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  11. Hi Tatyana, such a sweet post!It's interesting how often the wrong plant works out anyway, and the one we think we want is all wrong for us - works that way with spouses sometimes that way too!

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  12. Hello Tatyana,

    This reminds me that I never finished War and Peace! I got hooked on Russian literature but I haven't read this novel as of YET! Thanks for steering me in the direction...I will give it a look-see.
    I enjoyed this post...and thanks for the warning about buying the right bulbs.

    Rosey

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  13. Great post. I bought a hosta labeled "Aureomarginata" hoping it was the montana version, but it wasn't. It was Fortuini Aureomarginata - now one of my favorite hostas. I may have spelled some of that wrong.

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  14. I confess I have never read Snowstorm, but now I want to! Of course, you've told the whole thing,but I think I would still enjoy it. I would be disappointed about the allium, too. I say, try again! (Some people do this with husbands, too.)

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  15. I once ordered a particular magnolia... it took 14 years to bloom, it was only then that I realized they had not sent the one I ordered! I'm enjoying your posts as always! L

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  16. Wonderful post, and an absolutely fitting story! I have bought the wrong plant once or twice, and had no one to blame but myself.

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  17. Ah, yes. And even worse if you've lusted after a certain plant for a long time, and then it does not work out (but not as bad as the wrong husband, I'm sure)...

    Great story!

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  18. The only bulbs I've bought so far this year are alliums, crossing my fingers they are the right ones :) Now I think I need to read 'Snowstorm'. It sounds like such a good book, perfect for winter reading. The music was so pretty and I listened to it while catching up on your previous posts.

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  19. What a great post - and yes I think we've all bought the wrong plant - usually not reading the label in a hurry is my fault.

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  20. No joy is as great as an unexpected joy. What a delightful post! 'Random' my school kids would call it, and therein lies its charm. Who would have thought, starting the read, where it would take one...
    Thank you, Tatyana, you have made my day!
    Jack

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  21. Hi
    Thanks for visiting me.
    The wrong bulbs has nice flowers I haven´t seen any like that before.
    Have a nice day

    Gunilla

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  22. Tatyana~~ Your writing is so fun to read and you always make me smile. What you're saying is, things could always be worse. At least in today's world we have cell phones so the lost groom can phone the wedding party and let them know he's running a little late.

    I refuse to think about fall or winter yet but I can always think about bulbs. I hope you have another opportunity to buy the bulbs you really want. But if not, I trust you'll love the ones you get.

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  23. What a great post! Its got everything in it... drama, music, beauty, tragedy, hope. I think you've just created an mini-epic! :D
    As for getting the wrong plants, I frequently do. Just a result of our rather casual labelling (if ever) at the nurseries here. But like you said, its fun too. I think of it as my plant adventures. Russian roulette with plants instead of bullets!

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  24. Hi Tatyana,
    Not crying... you make me chuckle. This was a fabulous analogy. Gardening offers the most learning opportunities on so many levels. I hope you have a place for your cuban lily. And definitely not as tragic as future husband being lost in a snowstorm. Loved that you pointed out 'honor' as a characteristic to 'die for'... we should get back to that. :-)

    Lovely post!
    Meems

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  25. Tatyana, I loved the Pushkin story; now I'll have to find it and read it in full. And I bet there is some place in your garden where that lovely scilla will be just the right plant! -Jean

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  26. Indeed, better choosing a wrong plant than husband! Thanks, dear Tatyana, great post!

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  27. Delightful blog :) Really lovely. And I have a story too - which goes to show how I can indeed imagine that happening. A couple of years ago my parents and I went to a wedding of relatives in Ireland. We knew the village the church was in, but when we got there, it was hard to find. It was an odd day for a wedding - a Friday. We finally saw all the cars drawn up, so we hurriedly parked and went inside. Sure enough, bridge and groom at the front, wedding well in progress. After a few minutes though, we heard the priest happen to mention their names as part of the liturgy - and it was the wrong people, we were in the wrong wedding! So we left as quietly as we could (we were at the very back). We went to the reception hotel and waited there. We got a mention in the groom's speech for our efforts!

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  28. Oh Tatyana! What an enchanting post! The music is helping me write my comment. I do have moist eyes... alas... I have not read Snowstorm but will call my library this morning... your preview is wonderful and how you tie it into the garden and buying 'wrong' plants perfect! Delightful!! ;>))

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  29. Hi Tatyana. I loved your post and the music and yes, we've all bought the wrong plant at some time, usually our own fault but sometimes wrong labels - then it is annoying.
    Christina

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  30. what a beautiful russian story - if this was a movie it would be a tear jerker for me!

    I'll always remember this story Tatyana if I ever buy the wrong plant!

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  31. What a delight you are Tatyana! I covet Alliums but make do with our Agapanthus. The illustrations magically take me to Russia. And the poor man, lost and late for his wedding. He seems to be the only loser here.

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  32. Such a lovely story. I love all the connections you make... and my grandmothers mother was from St Petersburg, so there a bit of nostalgia from that "Russian side" of me, too!

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  33. brillaNT TOUCHED ME ON OH SO MANY LEVELS kUDOS !! SANDY

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  34. Dear Tatyana, that was a brilliant post and I enjoyed the whole thing. There must be a Hollywood movie in that story somewhere! Every time I look at my St. John's Wort that turned out NOT to be a St. John's Wort I'll think of you and your allium.

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  35. I enjoyed your post, Tatyana. Times really have changed, haven't they?

    I can't remember if I've gotten a different plant than I thought, but the colors have been different than what was on the seed package or tag before.

    I do like that plant you got, though.

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  36. ahhh Tatyana, I am still waltzing.. and you made me think of destiny vs free will...
    Thank you for the memories...

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  37. Cathy B., GHSeptember 01, 2010

    This is my favorite so far! I really enjoyed it!
    Cathy

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  38. Fantastic, Tatyana! I love the sotry, and what can I say about the plant? Bummer. But better to pick the wrong plant than the wrong husband. Poor girl!! At least we don't make vows to our plants, right?
    Your bloom is still a keeper. No worries!

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  39. Too funny. Usually when I get the wrong plant I just blame Lowe's. It makes me feel all better.

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  40. Hi Tatyana, thanks for your funny post and rich creativity. It's a good metaphor - I believe everything has to do with gardening. And when we acquire plants not in their flowering state we can never be sure what we're getting (ourselves into) cheers, catmint

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