Year of Grace, Day 19. Hototogisu

One of the lecturers in my Japanese linguistics course at Tokyo Gaidai used to warble in spring in imitation of the Japanese little cuckoo, the hototogisu. She was one of the only two female lecturers in our program. She would do it rather gravely –- ho ho ho ke kyo, ho ho ho ke kyo — and I can still hear her voice in my ear’s memory and envision her face.

Today’s note of thanks is for the flower also known as hototogisu. It has an ungainly botanical name, Tricyrtis hirta, and an even less charming English one – toad lily. I suppose it is the spots on the petals that prompted the name, or because it grows in shady, preferably damp spots where toads congregate. To me, it is one of the most exquisite of flowers, and I never tire of gazing with marvel at the beauty of its form and colouring.

Hototogisu fz

Another flower that is blooming in the garden right now, its second flush of bloom actually, is a reddish purple clematis. I grew it from a tiny rooted stem among a bunch that I had kept in water throughout the winter. I had not expected it to thrive. I had always assumed that flowering stems were not the ideal candidates for rooting, but in this instance, I was proved wrong and I am thankfully surprised at this almost miraculous event.

Clematis

Clematis grown from rooted cutting

The past few days have been warm, a spell of true Indian summer. I am grateful for this, as it means that the remaining buds on the Gloriosa lilies may yet be induced to open in the continuing mild weather.

Gloriosa

Gloriosa rothschildiana on west-facing wall

For these wonderful flowers that brighten my day and that give me so much joy, I am grateful.

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