A Greek Immigrant

I’ve been waiting for a phone call this morning. The call is important to me and I don’t want to miss it. To me this circumstance is slightly unpleasant; I have to keep my cell phone within reach and I lack the concentration to get much done. It’s like waiting somewhere for someone who has agreed to show up at a certain time. How long should you wait before giving up in disgust and walking away?

I needed a little project to keep my mind off the impending phone call. I’d eaten breakfast, done the dishes, and swept the floor — perhaps a photo shoot might provide a welcome distraction.

Downstairs near my street door a large pot sitting on a massive limestone slab contains both a Genovese Basil plant and a Greek Oregano plant. Both of them are thriving, and lately I’ve noticed that the oregano is in full flower. It had idly occurred to me that I should photograph one of the oregano’s flowering shoots. The pot is located next to some steps, though, an awkward place to set up a tripod.

Here was a project which wouldn’t take too long and might yield some nice images. I gathered up a sturdy banana box,a clothbound volume of Missouri fiddle tunes, a full watering can, and the camera which I had already secured to the tripod, and took them down to the driveway, which was illuminated by morning sunlight.

I set the banana box on end, oriented so that the book backdrop would hopefully block the very slight breeze. I set the full watering can inside the box to anchor it. Now I needed something heavy for the book to lean against.

I found a small red fire extinguisher in the garage — just the thing! I propped up the book on top of the box with the fire extinguisher behind it providing support. I picked a sprig of basil from the porch pot and put it in a small coffee cup, with a piece of steel in the bottom to hold the sprig still. Then the breeze picked up and changed direction. “Oh, damn it!”, I said in a low voice.

I carefully re-positioned my cobbled-together set-up and waited for a lull in the breeze. Finally there were a few seconds of perfect calm and the sprig quit bobbing back and forth.

I carefully snapped several shots, put away the components of my improvised support and backdrop, went back upstairs, and hooked up the camera to the USB port of my computer in order to see what I had recorded.

If you are at all familiar with floral structures you will see that oregano is obviously in the Mint Family, the Lamiaceae. The bilaterally-symmetrical petal shape and the hood shielding the stamens and pistil are indicative of the family. That and the strong aroma of the foliage!

Here’s an overall view of the sprig:

A zoomed-in view which shows the rather small flowers more clearly. To give you a sense of the scale, each flower is about 1/8″ long, from the stem-end of the calyx to the tip of the longest petal:

I thought the photos turned out well and were worth the effort, but the phone still hasn’t rung yet!




Filed under Photos, Plants

7 responses to “A Greek Immigrant

  1. Joan

    Great photos, Larry…but I’m partial to closeups. Most of us don’t get close enough to a flower to see the texture of the petals and the fuzz on the stems. Lovely.
    I have always envied my husband’s cell phone..cause it’s small and right there in his pocket where he (supposedly) can hear it. I have a landline rechargeable handset but it can roam as far as the yard and it has a clip on it.. So if your phone has some sort of clip..just turn up the ring volume and roam. Or..just call the person first and see what’s up.

  2. Thank you for the Greek Oregano . . .
    And for a White Rose of Athens . . . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6M_eo0VCOaY

    This is a fairly recent release from a lovely Irish singer. However, in the summer of 1961 the original version wasa played on KHMO and I used to often hear it as we were were closing up at Hannibal Pharmacy on Market Street . . have loved it ever since.

  3. That singer really gave the song the full emotive treatment, didn’t she? I must confess I’ve never heard that song before; it’s a good one.

    Thanks, Darrell!

  4. I think her name is Mary Duff. Nana Mouskouri had the most famous rendition of this, and it was quite Greek. However, Mary gave it a C&W twist that works out very well . . actually better since it has more “soul” I think?

  5. Mary Duff … I’ll have to check out her other songs on YouTube. In the sidebar I saw that she sings a version of “San Antonio Rose”, one of my favorite songs.

  6. Larry, as for voices, there is also Kim Watters with Rasa: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JZl6N9MYrU

  7. What an ethereal voice Kim Watters has! Hindu devotional music from California — not a genre I’m familiar with.

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