The Floral Fundamentalist

“They are scary they remind me of triffids,” said Al.

I looked right into his eyes with amazement.

“Triffids you must be mad,” I said “They are tall, majestic and beautiful.”

It was at this precise moment that the germ of the idea was off firing neurons in some as yet unidentified region of my brain.

There is no way I will be taking a kitchen knife to my ear sometime soon. I am too afeared of pain and would probably botch it up.

Nor do I see myself as an Irish Van Gogh, but we undoubtedly have a similarity and I am not just being arrogant even if the links may seem somewhat tenuous.

Our major commonality is undoubtedly our shared fascination with my favourite flower the sunflower.

The wonderful mad Dutchman painted sunflowers to distraction and the greatness of these works is perhaps over-diluted by the immense popularity of these images and their commercialisation in far too many calendars.

I in the past have over-photographed these floral subjects en masse, in close up using expensive macro-lenses and using a blur that some might now call cliché thanks to the all too simple click of a mouse photoshop effects and the horrible digital revolution.

Days later under a white sky like a giant lightbox I was standing and gazing in wonder at a host of my floral tributes to the sun god all yellow and gold magnificence.

One seemed to be smiling at me or was that just my overactive imagination in the still chilliness.

A drunken honey bee with a slowly vibrating abdomen fascinated me and caught my attention.

Its endorphin high was mesmerising and I wondered then do bees sleep.

I touched the edges of the flower and the anaesthesised bee fell to the ground. His body limp and relaxed he did himself no harm.

As I lifted him gently on a small nettle leaf carefully held between finger tips back up to continue his undisturbed reverie the idea to emulate nature’s great pollinators took hold.

So it is now I am rhythmically collecting thousands of little seeds. The rhythm of the task is therapeutic.

There is a surprising varied collection as my garden haven is full of tall to small and lemon yellow through gold to rich red.

My thumbs are blackened on separating the flowerheads before they decay with the eternal dampness. The seeds I collect are dried and will be stored till next Spring.

I am not collecting seeds for the green finch who we occasionally see foraging among the bushes nor for his blue tit friends, although they will get some spare ones mixed in with the bird feed we hang up high out of reach of feline paws.

The seeds are not for prickly Harry our bustly resident hedgehog friend who generally sticks to guzzling a diet of cat food anyhow in preparation for the long hunger of his hibernation.

I have a dastardly plan to make Greystones the sunflower capital of the nation through an illegal and surreptitious spilling of seed about the town at the dead of nights around the ides of March.

So you may wake in startlement on a wet summer morn next year only to see a host of giant floral beanstalks that have triffid-like suddenly materialised in your front garden.

It will unlikely be the work of Merlin. Nor the interference of the restless spectre of some ancient Irish druid that has been disturbed by the callous construction industry and its wanton disregard for sacred resting places.

No it will likely be the work of Ireland’s first floral terrorist.




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