Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Isn't It Ironic?

Let me tell you a little story:  Once upon a time a teacher was leading her class in a discussion of Macbeth and wanted to explain the concept of dramatic irony.  First, she thought it would be a good idea to review the general term irony.  Now the basic definition of irony is easy to recite, and this advanced class of seniors would have no trouble doing that.  But she wanted to make sure they really understood this term and asked them for examples of irony.

After the briefest of pauses, a student raised his hand and said, "Irony is like a 98-year-old man who won the lottery and died the next day."

"Excellent!" said the teacher.

Another hand quickly went up: "It's like a free ride when you've already paid."

"Another good example," replied the teacher.

More students chimed in:  "Like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife."  "Rain on your wedding day."   "A death row pardon two minutes too late."  "A fly in your Chardonnay."

A few giggles ensued after the last comment, which the teacher did think was a rather strange example from a high school student.  But she was pleased--to come up with such creative examples of ironic situations so quickly showed just how bright this class was, she thought.  The teacher, happy with such a lively discussion, continued on with her lesson plan, misinterpreting the smiles of the students who seemed to share a secret joke.

Of course, that teacher was me, and among the students was my older daughter.  When she arrived home from school that evening, she took me by the hand and said, "Come on, Mom, I want you to listen to something."  I was busy getting dinner ready and didn't really want to get distracted, but when a teenager wants to talk to you, you know you need to make the time.  She led me into her room and put on a CD . . . Alanis Morissette's "Ironic." 

Ah, yes, it all made sense....another case of the generation gap and why it's a good idea for high school teachers to at least try to keep up with current teenage culture:)

I've been thinking about those lyrics a lot lately.  In this time of transition in the garden--post-tulip and spring bulb extravaganza--isn't it ironic that I can't seem to find the time to enjoy the few blooms I have?  I wasn't happy with the quality of this photo of the 'Purple Sensation' alliums in the arbor bed.

But when I finally took the time to try to get a better photo this week, this is what they looked like.

After waiting all winter for something pretty to show on this blog, I also find it ironic that I haven't had much time to post and show off these pretties lately.  This iris, a passalong from my aunt, bloomed and faded without so much as a "Hello, Gorgeous!"

And isn't it ironic that after a few unsuccessful attempts to grow nicotania, I seem to be overrun with it this year?  I've been hoeing out more potential flowers in the arbor bed this year than weeds!

Maybe this example is not so much irony as pure dumb luck--I've never had much luck with winter seed sowing, but one of the my few successes is this star of the shade garden at the moment.  Aquilegia 'Rocky Mountain Blue' was started from seed a few years ago.

It's also a bit strange that in this second week of May when normally my back porch would be covered with annuals after several plant-buying frenzies, I have only a few perennials from local plant sales . . . and pots of the nicotania to share.  You see, I don't want to have to worry about who is going to water them for a week.

That brings me to the biggest irony of all:  in little over a week, gardening enthusiasts from all over the country will be congregating in Asheville, North Carolina.  They are all garden bloggers, and yet lately I haven't had time to read blogs.  Instead of reading about your garden or posting about mine, I've been busy making to-do lists and crossing things off, getting necessary garden work finished, and trying to decide what to pack.  When I do sit down at the computer, it's to run off maps or check the flurry of emails from my two travel mates, Lisa and Beckie.  I'm sooo excited but also a bit frazzled-- I wish there were more hours in the day to get everything done I want to do.  I have to remind myself, though, that there will be time enough when I return:  time to catch up with my blogging friends, time to buy plants for all my containers, and time to finish weeding and edging the garden (again!).

It's all so ironic, but one thing I'm not going to worry about . . . since I seldom drink, there won't be any "flies in my Chardonnay":)


  1. I chuckled at the story of the high schoolers and their wonderful examples! Ha.

    I do get the same feeling you do about waiting and waiting for things to happen in any season in the garden, and then being dumbfounded when I realize they went by. Such irony : )

    Have a great trip to Asheville --- I'm looking forward to seeing bloggers' posts on the event this year.

  2. Hi Rose,

    I would have known about the fly in the Chardonnay, as Mr P and I often listen to that album, it is one of our favourites:)

    Such fun though Rose, and I know you would have smiled.

    Your blooms are lovely, especially the iris. You are so far ahead this year. My alliums are only in bud and nowhere near opening.
    There is so much to remember when we leave the garden for a while.....I know once you get there you will have such a wonderful time, and all this anxiety will be but a distant memory.

  3. You are right. Gardening does seem to give us many examples of irony. I've been thinking that same thing lately.

    I hope your trip is a great one. Life does get so busy sometimes. Your garden will be waiting when you return, and it will continue to teach you many life lessons. Enjoy your time.

  4. Ha, too funny. I love that Alanis song. There is so much irony everywhere. I was going to say-give those nicotiana away-they are fabulous plants and the self seeding makes them perennials. I love love love mine but the dogs have taken most out. Grrrr. It's hard to believe-I'll be on the road in one week already. So much to do! Sounds like you are ahead of the game and I need to get a move on it too.

  5. I wish I had also more time to enjoy things. So I take time for myself by making photograph's. I wish you a wonderful trip and I am curious what you will share with us next time.
    Take care of yourself Rose

  6. oh those teenagers! I understand the sentiment though. I wait so long through the winter to see sunshine and flowers and now that spring is here I'm running around as fast as I can trying to get work done and not doing enough to really enjoy the season.

  7. I felt this way last year, when we left for two weeks in July. There is no good time to leave a garden :-) Luckily, they're pretty forgiving.

    That's a great story and a great song --I think I'll have to dig that album out now.

  8. Funny story! I’m glad your students were learning from music and not from drunken binges. That was nice of your daughter to explain. It must have been an odd experience for both of you having her in your class. Did you play the song the next year for your class? I also enjoyed your ironic blooms.

  9. What a fun story Rose. I too would have been taken in by those artful students ;-) Although I am familiar with the song (it's not a favourite) I'm ashamed to say I have never really payed attention to,the words!

    I like the photo you weren't happy with and also that very pretty Aquilegia.

    Have a wonderful and safe trip Rose!

  10. Have a wonderful time!

    Close to us is the home of the two national collections of aquilegia. (Why there are 2 collections in the same place I don't know ...)

  11. It wouldn't matter if we were getting ready to go someplace or not this time of year there is never enough time for everything. Take a deep breath. We will have a great time and you will have time to read, plant and enjoy when we return.

  12. This was so funny I had to read it to my husband. Although I am familiar with the song, I did not get it at first. I would have been in the same situation as you.

  13. Rose, I can't wait to see you three! Absolutely loved this post on irony! xogail

  14. Oh the irony of it all!!! hahaha, same for me, no time to read the blogs lately. Been trying all evening to read at least ONE posting from those on my blog roll. Can't wait for next week! It will be lots of fun.

  15. That was a lovely story in this post and the photos are as beautiful as ever.

    Life can be ironic at times.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  16. You have so much going on in your garden. I am probably at least two weeks behind you.

  17. Laurrie, Spring came so quickly and everything seemed to bloom at once. You'd think I'd have more time to sit back and enjoy now that it's transition time in the garden, but May has been a busy time for many reasons. Ah well, June will surely be more relaxing. I thought you were also going to Asheville?

    Cheryl, You know me well--yes, the incident at school made me laugh. I knew the song, but I had never paid much attention to all the lyrics:) My frazzled state is typical of me anytime I have something big planned; once I get in the car to leave, I know I'll be much more relaxed and have a good time.

    Sally, You're right about the irony. Really, the most ironic thing of all is I didn't really get into gardening until I retired, but I don't have the stamina to do all I want as I would have had years ago.

    Tina, I did dig up a lot of the nicotania, but there were so many! I did leave a nice stand--no need to plant any of the new seeds I got:) If I'm "ahead" of you, it's only because I'm not good at last-minute preparations; I have to start weeks ahead.

    Marijke, I wish I had taken even more photos this spring. I will have lots to share, though, when I return from my trip!

    Marguerite, Amen. That's exactly the way I feel this year.

    Cassi, You're right, which is why I generally like to travel--to warmer places--in the winter. It's a great song; I always think of the story in my classroom whenever I hear it.

    Sarah, In a small school like ours, it wasn't uncommon for a teacher to have her own children in class. Three of my four were my students at one time, but English always seemed trickier with the subjectivity of grading essays. My daughters complained I was harder in grading them because I didn't want to show favoritism, and they may have been right. I don't think I ever played that particular song, but I shared the story with later classes:)

  18. Songbird, I never listen to lyrics very carefully either--partly because I can't understand them half the time:) My younger daughter used to put on hip-hop music when we were travelling; when I finally caught what the words actually were, I switched stations!

    Liz, How neat to have a national collection of Aquilegia. I have a collection of two:)

    Lisa, I know you're right; don't worry, once I get on the road, I'll relax. But I'm getting so excited!

    Sage, Sometimes I'm a little slow at catching a joke:)

    Gail, I'm so looking forward to seeing you again, too! It's going to be a fun time.

    Janet, Same for me--I try to read a few posts a day, but some days I don't even make that. Looking forward to meeting you in person!

    Maggie, There is so much irony in life--we have to laugh when we can.

    Pat, It's been a crazy year; I'm a month ahead of myself, too:)

  19. I used to love that song and the video that went with it. It was in the charts when I was pregnant I think.

    Where are you going?! I must have missed something?

    S x

  20. Hi Rose, I am a fan of Alanis Morissette's "Ironic".
    I often have the same problem when it comes to missing out on flowers in bloom. Last year the lilacs and lily of the valley came and went with me getting only a very few pictures. This year I am determined not to miss out, but we will see. Free time for photographs is often scarce.
    You make me wish I was going to Asheville too! Right now, I couldn't afford a bus ticket into Toronto, let alone a flight to Asheville. Oh well, maybe one day soon! I bet you are going to have a wonderful time!

  21. Have a great time, Rose! I wish I could join you all in Asheville, but my son is graduating from college this weekend. I'll look forward to your posts about the fling. That Iris is a stunner!

  22. Enjoy your trip away Rose - it's a busy time of the year for all of us and I know that sometimes I don't get to read many blogs. I love the colour of that iris!

  23. And if there is one plant that we are likely to miss out on in the garden, it is the lovely Iris with such a short flowering period.
    Is it ironic that such a lovely flower has such a short life but the plant itself lives on through the generations invariably through the process of 'hand me downs'.
    Great post.

  24. Dear Rose,
    Everything does seem to happen at once!
    I enjoyed your flowers....
    Glad you had a fun trip!


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