Thursday, 20 December 2007

Rainy day
I just love it when it rains — which is not very often — and I hope it means there'll be lots of snow when we go to Big Bear on New Year's Day.These birds of paradise, ruffling their plumage in the rain beside the pool, look as though they'll be perfect for the Christmas table, though the world is full of potted poinsettia at the moment. There was even an eight-metre-tall Christmas tree downtown yesterday, made entirely of potted poinsettia. They are obviously de rigueur for holiday decor.
I remember Mum trying so hard to grow a tiny poinsettia in Norwich, treating it so tenderly, making sure it was near the radiators and warm, and willing the red bracts to appear.
Then in Subiaco, I had one as tall as I am growing like a weed behind the lemon tree, up against Dev's fence. No effort at all on my part!
The bird of paradise, Strelitzia reginae, is the official flower of Los Angeles, and though Perth gardeners turn their noses up at them (too scruffy, too short a flowering season, too 1970s), I've always had a soft spot for them. I grew them in my garden at Subiaco, and they were the first flowers I painted when I moved into my studio space at Claremont Art School, inspired by Scottish artist Elizabeth Blackadder's fabulous paintings, like this one (below), a magazine picture of which I've had in my visual diary for almost ten years.
:: David — ever the rock historian — called me from the corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco today. The travellers are spending one more night in San Francisco and plan to get up tomorrow, breakfast and be on the road early to drive straight through to San Diego. It's about an eight or nine-hour drive, so they should arrive in time for home-made minestrone.
(It'll be lovely to have some more women in the house ...)

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