Lobb's ClitoriaTuesday, June 10, 2014
|Rosa 'Mary Magdalene'|
When my mother sent me to St. Edward’s High School in 1956 I was a mother’s boy. We lived in a mining town in northern Mexico and my father was in Buenos Aires. I had not seen him for 5 years.
With my pimples beginning to act up I was in a full-blown repressed teenager who had little idea about the birds and the bees.
Fortunately my mother had fomented in me a love of reading and we seemed to read the same books like the historical novels of Samuel Shellarbarger (The Spider King), Frank Yerby (The Saracen King) and the more literate Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell. I introduced to my mother Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart and Taylor Caldwell’s novel about St. Luke, Dear and Glorious Physician. I was keen on my mother’s favourite author of medical fiction, Frank G. Slaughter (Sword and Scalpel). The reason I was keen on Slaughter and Edison Marshall’s The Viking is that they had good sex scenes. In an age, particularly Austin, Texas, racy stuff was not to be found anywhere except, I soon found out in the bookstores that sold pulp fiction.
To this day I try to forget my foray into Slaughter and Yerby and I can assert that the best sex scenes I ever read where the very subtle, between-the-lines novels of Dorothy Dunning.
I have read all of José Saramago’s novels (mostly in translations from the Portuguese into Spanish. The one that is the most difficult to read (and I read it in English and then in Spanish) is The Gospel According to Jesus Christ. In it Christ, as a young man (suffering from stigmatas) is taken care of and introduced into carnal endeavours by Mary of Magdala. The sex scene in the book makes me blush. And I don’t even have to read it as I remember most of it. For his efforts Saramago was pilloried in Portugal so he left in exile to the Canary island of Lanzarote. When Saramago won the Nobel Prize for Literature a few years later his county beckoned him to return. He did not.
I cannot speak for others but I do believe that from the first time that a little American girl, age 8, came to my house in Buenos Aires (I was 8 or 9) and she asked me, “Do you want to see my…?” I answered, “Yes,” I have thought about women and sex a lot.
In fact when I was in kindergarten I had the uncommon pleasure of sharing the classroom with the Argentine quintuplets, the Diligentis. They were two boys and three girls. I remember lifting the skirts of my fave, María Fernanda. You could say that my depravity began early in my life.
How else can I explain the fact that I have 85 roses (old roses and David Austin English Roses) and that at least 25 of them are pink and multipetalled? The queen of them all is my (just off white to be pink) multi named Maiden’s Blush. It is also called Cuisse de Nymphe, Incarnata, La Virginale and (yes!) La Séduisante.
I have hinted about this here. But few, as far as I can tell made the connection. The connection is that every time I look at my flesh coloured old roses I think about women and in particular about that which they have that I don’t.
My suspicion, after having lived with my plants since 1986 is that they are far less repressed than most humans.
The idea to write this blog came about when I discovered that 19th century plant hunter William Lobb had discovered an azure blue Clitoria ternata in Panama.
It was some 10 or 12 years ago that I used to frequent with Rosemary, the Mother’s Day plant sale at the UBC Botanical Garden. We always managed to get a plant list a few days before. On that list was Clitoria ternata.
When a rare plant was offered the technique, besides the one of going early to be ahead of the line, was not to think of the plant you wanted to get. And of course you would never discuss this with anybody near you. The fact is that one of Rosemary’s friends, just two people in front of me, got to Clitoria ternata and that was that.
Since then I have had the consolation prize of what I call the Male Member Plant (it is a lurid purple). It is a non hardy vine called Rhodochiton atrosanguineus. I particularly like to show the plant to the many little old ladies that come to visit our garden.
Now I cannot get a clitoria to scan but this one from Google Images will have to do.
Mary Madgalen (e)
Mary Madgalen (e)