Sunday, September 26, 2010

I see rainbows in the evening

Lemongrass update: after 6 weeks it needed potting on again.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

That one is only poor Only if they choose to be

I've been researching the source of the 'Persian costume' as we've always called it. The watercolour was described as "A Gabr woman"; googling tells me that Gabr has come to mean Zoroastrian having gone through various degrees of rudeness about non-Muslims, and Wiki has this photograph of a 20th Century Zoroastrian family:

Another site has this picture of a costume:

And here's mine:

Despite googling I can find absolutely no mention of the Persia edition of the 'Peeps at Many Lands' series of books; it apparently never existed; and I yet I know it did!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Any dream will do

Back around the time of the First World War a branch of my family lived out in Persia, as it was known then. My great-aunt was a talented watercolourist and produced many very pleasing pictures of various scenes, and when the family returned to England in the early 1920s she wrote a book about the country and used her own pictures to illustrate it.

The picture on the cover is particularly colourful, and as a small girl I was thrilled to learn that the actual costume was still in the family's possession. I longed to dress up in it and copy the pose in the picture, but circumstances meant there was never a good opportunity to get it down from the loft. Until we were emptying my mother's old home, whereupon I seized the trunk it was in and bore it, and the original watercolour picture, away to Genie Towers for safe keeping. Today I decided the circumstances were right for dressing up!

I shouldn't have too much difficulty getting into these!

The fiddliest bit was trying to get the headgear right, wondering which of the squillions of pieces of silk in the trunk were the right ones, and trying to drape and knot them correctly It would have helped to have someone who knew how these things worked, but Ned made a very good model's dresser, and eventually we decided we were ready for a shoot.

All in all I'm very pleased with the result, and I had such fun fulfilling this childhood ambition!

Yes you did, ya told 'em once before

This week's update on the progress of the lemongrass:

Still growing!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Don't you tell it to the breeze

As well as trying to grow unusual plants I like Thai food, so my latest gardening experiment is to grow lemongrass. The idea was given to me when watching Gardeners' World (compulsory Friday night viewing for Oldies!) - it hadn't occurred to me before that it could be done. You can get packets of lemongrass seeds in garden centres, but googling showed me a far more interesting way of propogating it; simply buy some from the greengrocery section of the supermarket - yes, the pallid, naked sticklike things that have been trimmed to within an inch of their lives - and stand them in a jar of water on the windowsill. I tried it, and couldn't believe how fast the roots started to appear from what looked like a hopeless stump.

After one week in water

After two weeks in water; time to pot on

Transferred to pots

After one week in the pot; doing okay!

After two weeks in the pot the roots are still developing

Four weeks from when I bought them - starting to sprout out.

They're growing at a tremendous rate - about a centimetre a day at the moment! Soon they'll need potting on into bigger premises and hopefully by next year they'll be quite nice ornamental clumps for the patio.

In spring I'll be having a bash at ginger as well ...