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“I must have flowers, always, and always.”
― Claude Monet

Certain strands of passion follow us through life.  One of them, for me, has been my love affair with flowers.

As a child, I loved the drive- by thrills of spotting masses of jaunty daisies, exotic orange tiger lilies, frilly purple asters, and delicate Queen Anne’s lace on a New England country road.

The scent of wild roses at Nantucket beaches was more intoxicating than it’s flower, but oh, what a scent!  IMG_7459One of my early memories is that of gilding deep red roses with metallic paint that my mother used to gild my ballet slippers.  I was convinced they were the most beautiful objects I’d ever seen.

Living in Georgia, spring was about the scent of wild honeysuckle, the flaming colors of azaleas and the raucous glory of redbud and dogwood trees.  By the hot Southern summers, nothing much survived except marigolds.

“If you pass by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it, God gets real pissed off.”
– Alice Walker

I traveled to Surrey, England ,when in my 50’s, to take a month long course at the old-fashioned Constance Spry School for flowers.  We picked our greens and branches from the  abundant English hedgerows.  Fabulous and natural, but definitely of the school that more is better.


It wasn’t until I began to look at Ikebana in Japan that I began to understand that less can be more.  A lot more.  It fascinated me to watch the attention given to a single blossom. How best to show it?  Learn to find it’s “best” side, just like a movie star. Learn to celebrate its season, by placing it in an appropriate container and adding plant material that compliments it . Become aware,that once you pick a flower, you have begun its decline toward death.DSC03535

I tend to like flowers that do things.  I love to watch them unfold, change colors, and shapes.  I  tire of brazen sunflowers who grab center stage.  Same goes for marigolds. Their jolt of pleasure has no nuance.  But then, how to explain the thrill of a garish water-lily?


Did I mention my love of morning glories?  Always moving,  climbing, opening, closing and always a  little wild.   There’s a market just devoted to showing, buying and selling morning glories in Tokyo!

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Flowers always fill me with joy.  They offer welcome distraction from unpleasantness and sorrow. They add beauty and a piece of the natural world to my surroundings and make special celebrations even more special.   They bring out my creativity and demand that I focus on what’s in front of me.  They practically shout at me, ” Pay attention!  Life is glorious and the earth is a  miraculous place.  I, like you and all living things, will not be here forever.”

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Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.


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